US OPEN CUP
When do Inter Miami play next? Will Lionel Messi be fit to play?
The Herons were without former Barcelona trio Messi, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets in Sunday’s draw at Orlando City.
Inter Miami made a huge splash in the summer transfer market by signing Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, who have had an incredible impact since joining David Beckham’s Herons. The former Barcelona trio have helped the team win the 2023 Leagues Cup, reach the final of the US Open Cup and climb off the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference and overall standings in just over two months at their new club.
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Messi, Alba and Busquets all miss Clásico del Sol
One minor concern surrounding the signings of the three veterans was their advancing years, with Alba the youngest of the trio at 34. They played a significant amount of soccer immediately after moving to the United States but Messi and Alba have picked up recent injuries, while all of them sat out Sunday’s draw in the Clásico del Sol away to Orlando City. Just a coincidence or a sign that they need to slow down a little?
US Open Cup final up next for Inter Miami
The fact that Inter Miami’s next match is the US Open Cup final against Houston Dynamo, to be played at DRV PNK Stadium on Wednesday 27 September (kick-off at 8:30 p.m ET) will surely have influenced head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s decision not to risk any of his star players just three days earlier in Florida.
What problems are Messi, Alba and Busquets suffering from?
The Argentine manager revealed before the clash in Orlando that Messi was “struggling with an old scar tissue problem”, while Alba had “muscular fatigue”. Busquets, meanwhile, didn’t feature as he had been suffering from migraines, which had affected his vision.
Messi to be assessed “day by day”
Following the draw at Exploria Stadium, Martino was inevitably asked about whether Messi would be involved in the US Open Cup final against Houston and kept his cards close to his chest:
“It is very difficult to put a percentage as to what the chances are that he could play because we are taking it day by day. We will evaluate him, and I will first listen to what he says as to how he feels. We then have to evaluate what the future risks are. It is not an easy decision, but we will take the appropriate amount of time to make sure we do not make a mistake.”
Busquets likely to play against Houston Dynamo
Busquets “shouldn’t have any problem playing in Wednesday’s match” but a late decision will be made on whether the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner takes to the field, which is also set to be the case with Alba.