- Santiago Rodriguez scored the only goal for NYFC in the 77 minutes of gameplay
- Inter Miami has four games remaining to compete for postseason qualification
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Inter Miami scored a goal in the very last second to secure a 1-1 draw in a barn against NYFC, with Lionel Messi once again sitting out the match with an injury.
Tomas Aviles brought Miami back from defeat after firing a header into the back of the net following a corner kick in the 95th minute.
Santiago Rodriguez’s shot, which almost gave NYFC a crucial victory, beat goalkeeper Drake Callender and placed the ball into the top right corner from what seemed an almost impossible angle.
Miami came within inches of securing the win in stoppage time just moments after Aviles secured the goal and tied the game when David Ruiz’s shot hit the underside of the crossbar before nearly making its way over the line found as it bounced on the ground. .
The 36-year-old Messi has now missed four of Inter Miami’s last five matches, plus another for Argentina in that period, due to what was initially termed fatigue – by both his club and country – and has evolved from there.
The injured Messi watches during the first half against New York City FC at the DRV PNK Stadium
Attacking midfielder Santiago Rodriguez (L) scored the only goal for NYFC in the 77th minute
The only game he did not miss during that period was a 37-minute appearance against Toronto on September 20, and he had to leave that match before halftime due to a suspected hamstring problem.
Saturday’s absence came as Inter Miami entered the evening five points behind NYCFC with two games in hand.
Inter Miami entered the evening in control of its playoff fate, trying to clinch one of the nine playoff spots from the Eastern Conference.
After Saturday, the team only has four MLS matches remaining. And Messi’s status for them remains a mystery, even as some fans pay hundreds of dollars – or more – to attend a match in the hope of seeing him play.
As things stand, Miami is still in 13th place in the MLS Eastern Conference and is four points out of a tie for the playoffs, not including goal difference.
Montreal and Chicago are currently tied for the last spot in the playoffs and Montreal owns the tiebreaker as things stand at the moment.
Miami will play Chicago in their next game on Wednesday, October 4, in a game that both teams will certainly consider as a must-win game as the season comes to a close.
More to follow…