Inter Miami confirmed lineup vs Toronto FC: is Messi in the team?
Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba were both absent for last weekend’s defeat to Atlanta United. Are they ready to return to the starting XI?
Inter Miami take on Toronto FC on Wednesday evening as they look to bounce back from a 5-2 loss against Atlanta United.
Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s side were thoroughly outplayed at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, but were without two of the architects of their incredible mid-season turnaround.
Neither Lionel Messi nor Jordi Alba were in the squad against Atlanta. Messi had previously missed Argentina’s game against Bolivia and was said to be suffering from “muscular fatigue” after a busy run of fixtures.
Messi and Alba start against Toronto
The good news for Miami fans is that both Messi and Jordi Alba returned to training earlier this week, with Martino telling reporters on Tuesday that “Messi and Alba will train in the full session today with the team, and after that we’ll see if they’re available to play and to what extent”.
The duo clearly did enough to convince the Inter Miami head coach that they were ready to return, with confirmation coming through that they would both feature from the start against Toronto.
Inter Miami confirmed starting XI
Messi has played a lot of football since arriving in Miami and, at 36 years old, he was always likely to need a rest at some point. His last appearance came for Argentina on 7 September, meaning that he has now had nearly two weeks without playing.
Messi does, however, return to the Inter Miami starting XI for this must-win fixture against Toronto. The Canadian side are bottom of the Eastern Conference and defeat to them would surely spell the end of Inter Miami’s playoff ambitions.
Inter Miami confirmed lineup: Callender - Jordi Alba, Miller, Kryvtsov, Aviles, Yedlin - Farias, Busquets, Ruiz - Martínez, Messi.
Inter Miami schedule causes headaches
When Messi, Busquets and Jordi Alba joined Miami in the summer, few people thought they had any chance of silverware this season. But the trio’s arrival sparked an incredible Leagues Cup campaign that culminated with the team’s first trophy and they have now reached the final of the US Open Cup.
But their impressive form has added additional fixtures to their schedule and they now have a backlog of games to work through in the coming weeks.
Martino explained: “Beginning on Wednesday, we have six matches in 18 days, which is one match every three days, including the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final.”
“We have a lot of important matches in a short window of time, and one of my responsibilities as the coach is to care for my players and help them make the hard decisions that will give us the best chance of keeping everyone healthy during this busy run.”
He may well decide to rest some of Miami’s aging stars again before the end of the season, but Martino has named a strong side to take on Toronto FC.