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Messi ‘reads the signs’ and avoids more serious injury

The Argentine was subbed late in the first half in the MLS clash against Toronto and is expected to be rested this weekend for the regular season game against Orlando.

Lionel Messi substituted amid fitness concerns

35 minutes of the Inter Miami vs Toronto F.C. MLS game had elapsed at the DRV PNK Stadium when Leo Messi gestured to the bench that he wanted to be replaced. The Argentine had missed Saturday’s trip to Atlanta and had also been sidelined by Argentine manager Scaloni for the trip to Bolivia, both cited as ‘precautionary measures’.

The Argentine star returned to the Inter Miami starting XI on Wednesday night, expected to play for at least an hour as the Herons look to maintain their push for an MLS playoff spot but also planning ahead of next week’s US Open Cup final.

Messi felt twinges in his hamstring according to several close sources and this is something of a recurring injury for the 36-year-old. These twinges were the warning sign that forced Messi to request to be switched on Wednesday with the danger of continuing to play, possibly leading to a minor tear that, if serious, could potentially end the season for the Argentine.

Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami
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Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami JOE RAEDLEAFP

Inter Miami have ruled out his presence this weekend for the Florida derby against Orlando and now the main intention of both player and coaching staff is for him to be fit for the final. The Herons face Houston Dynamo next Wednesday, 27 September with the Miami club looking to add to their Leagues Cup triumph.

Alternatives to Messi

As he has had to do in recent weeks with the FIFA window and Messi’s absence, Tata Martino will now need to put together a competitive side who will travel to Orlando looking for the win that will keep the playoff dream alive. The Open Cup final looms large and Inter Miami will need the likes of Farías, Taylor and Campana to be at the top of their game.

The Herons now face a gruelling schedule with games coming thick and fast (weekend-midweek) as we head towards MLS Deadline Day on 21 October.