Messi’s Inter Miami announce China tour: dates, games, schedule
After missing out on the MLS playoffs, Inter Miami are to travel to the Asian nation to play friendlies against two Chinese Super League sides.
Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami have announced that they are to go on a postseason tour of China after failing to reach Major League Soccer’s end-of-year playoffs.
Which Chinese teams will Miami face?
The Herons are to play friendlies against Chinese Super League teams Qingdao Hainiu and Chengdu Rongcheng on 5 and 8 November, respectively.
“This will be a great opportunity to continue building on our 2023 campaign, in which we achieved our first-ever trophy,” Miami’s sporting director and chief soccer office, Chris Henderson, said.
“We will take this as an opportunity to begin our preparations for 2024, as we look to build on last season and find more success moving forward.”
Miami’s chief business officer, Xavier Asensi, added: “We’re very excited to continue to expand our club’s global reach, bringing our team to play in front of incredible fans across the globe.
“This is a special opportunity to share the passion as we reach new audiences and put ourselves on display in new places, and we’re looking forward to beginning this adventure.”
Inter Miami’s playoff bid over after Cincinnati loss
Miami’s hopes of reaching the MLS playoffs, which take place between 25 October and 9 December, were officially ended when they lost to Supporters’ Shield winners Cincinnati on 7 October.
Bottom of the Eastern Conference when they signed Messi in July, Miami embarked on a late-season bid to sneak into the playoffs, winning four out of six MLS games between the end of August and mid-September.
However, with Messi absent through injury in recent weeks, Miami saw their pursuit of a postseason place halted by a four-game winless run, culminating in consecutive defeats to Chicago Fire and Cincinnati. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner returned as a second-half substitute against the Orange and Blue, but could not prevent his side from going down 1-0 at DRV PNK Stadium.
Gerardo Martino’s side play Charlotte in both of their remaining MLS regular-season games, on 18 and 21 October.
Miami set for Champions Cup in 2024
Although they can now finish no higher than 12th in the Eastern Conference standings - three places off the playoffs - Miami have secured qualification for next year’s CONCACAF Champions Cup by winning the 2023 Leagues Cup.
Led by Messi, who scored 10 goals in seven Leagues Cup games, the Floridians lifted the MLS-Liga MX inter-league trophy in August, beating Nashville on penalties in the final.