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US OPEN CUP

Inter Miami confirmed starting lineup in US Open Cup 2023 final: Messi out, will he play?

It’s a huge call from Tata Martino to leave Messi out completely: here’s how The Herons will line up for their US Open Cup final game against Houston Dynamo.

Update:
Inter Miami vs Toronto FC en vivo: Messi en MLS 2023 en directo
CHRIS ARJOONAFP

Houston Dynamo go up against Inter Miami in the final of the US Open Cup on 27 September 2023 at 8.30 p.m. ET/5.30 p.m. PT. The game, hosted at DRV PNK Stadium, is another test for Messi and co. to get some more silverware in the cabinet that already holds this season’s Leagues Cup trophy.

However, injury doubts have surrounded Messi in the buildup to the game, with the ex-Barça forward coming off in the first half against Toronto FC and missing the Florida derby against Orlando City. Manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino has kept his cards close to his chest regarding Messi’s fitness, so it remains to be seen whether or not the Argentine will be ready to start in the game.

Questions have also been asked about both Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, who were not present against Orlando City. Martino said that the midfielder “won’t have any problem playing on Wednesday”, a sentence that all but guarantees the presence of Busquets, who was suffering from a migraine in the last game.

US Open Cup:

Lionel Messi substituted amid fitness concerns
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The Herons’ captain and teammate Jordi Alba were both taken off in the first half of the MLS game against Toronto FC.CARMEN MANDATOAFP

Is Lionel Messi injured?

In short, yes. The 7-time Ballon d’Or winner, at 36-years-old, can no longer handle the usual output of a player in their prime, and playing over 2 games a week is, if not all but impossible, an extremely unlikely situation. Martino said that Messi is“fighting with an injury on some old scar tissue”, and refused to give a definitive answer on the likelihood of him playing.

“It’s difficult to put a percentage on the chances of him playing”, said Tata, “because we are analysing him day by day. We will evaluate him, and first of all I’ll listen to what he says about how he feels. After that we’ll have to look at the future risks. It’s not an easy decision, but we will take the necessary time to avoid mistakes.”

Confirmed starting XI for Inter Miami: Messi on the bench

Callender gets the nod in goal while the back four is made up of Allen, Miller, Krytsov and Yedlin. Gómez, Cremaschi and Busquets are in the middle behind a three of Taylor, Campana and Farías.

Chances for both sides in opening stages
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Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets have led the revolution at Inter Miami.Gary A. VasquezUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Inter Miami possible starting lineup in the US Open Cup 2023 final:

It was tough ask choosing the potential starting XI for Inter Miami given the wealth of talent at Martino’s disposal, but here’s was our best guess. We had hoped that all three ex-Barça players were fit to start, and that the manager went with a more attack-minded formation, playing 4 at the back instead of 5. But here’s how we got on...

Callender

Yedlin - Miller - Kryvtsov - Alba

Busquets - Cremaschi - Gómez

Messi/Campana - Martínez - Taylor/Farías