Inter Miami vs NYCFC preview: Messi latest update, team news & predicted line ups
Inter Miami’s chances of a playoff spot are slim at best, but having the best player in the world helps a lot. Will Messi play against NYCFC?
Inter Miami are set to take on New York City FC at DRV PNK Stadium on Saturday 30 September (KO 19:30 ET). Only a few days have passed since a Messi-less Miami lost to Houston Dynamo in the final of the US Open Cup, but The Herons have to shake off the taste of defeat and focus on getting through the final stretch of MLS, where the upcoming calendar leaves no room for error.
With the playoffs still slightly out of reach, Tata Martino’s side are going up against a direct opponent, the team hanging on the edge of the last seat to the postseason: New York City FC. The task at hand is huge, and the tension levels are rising, especially since the side do not know if Lionel Messi is still fit to play.
Messi injury has burst the Inter Miami bubble
The storm that hit the USA when Messi touched down has not dropped in its intensity, but Messi’s influence on the pitch has, and for good reason: he hasn’t been there. With 5 games to go of the regular season, Inter Miami have had to play the last two without the World Cup winner in their XI. Today, they face another test as they welcome NYCFC at the DRV PNK Stadium, and they will do so with a squad that has dropped in form since their seemingly unstoppable phase before the latest international break.
Messi’s injury suffered during the international break is known as the FIFA Virus, and it left the Inter Miami squad that relied heavily on him wounded to potentially catastrophic proportions. The Argentine missed the US Open Cup final due to an unknown problem but it is true that he managed to participate in training on Friday ahead of the game.
Will Messi play vs NYCFC?
“Leo’s case is very specific”, said Javi Morales, the Inter Miami assistant, “we’re going day by day, we were trying until the last minute to see if he could get on for a few minutes in the final, but he couldn’t, so it’s about communication with the doctors and above all Messi himself to see how he feels. Today for sure he’ll try out and we’ll see if he’s available for tomorrow, which is what we all want.”
Like in the loss to Houston, the club will wait until the last moment to decide if the Argentine is fit to play.
Martino will also have Jordi Alba’s loss to contend with, as the left-back is suffering from a hamstring issue, with Morales saying to the press that “with Jordi [the recovery time] is a bit longer than with Leo, his injury is a hamstring so he won’t be here for the weekend.” As he did against Houston, the likely replacement for Alba is Noah Allen.