Both Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba will miss Inter Miami’s match against Orlando on Sunday after being forced off during Wednesday night’s 4-0 win over Toronto.
And coach Tata Martino admitted Messi is now unsure of playing in the US Open Cup final against Houston Dynamo next week.
“They trained normally and we felt they were ready to play. I don’t think it’s anything new or anything worse than what they had. It’s fatigue,” Martino said.
‘I don’t think it’s a muscle injury. There is no chance for them to play the game in Orlando, but I don’t think it is anything serious or muscle injuries. I think it’s just tiredness.’
The coach added that Messi will be assessed day by day in consultation with the medical team between now and next Wednesday’s final. The victory over Toronto was the first of six games in eighteen days for Miami.
Tata Martino admitted that Lionel Messi is now unsure of playing in the US Open Cup final next week
Both Messi and Jordi Alba (left) were forced off during Wednesday night’s 4-0 win over Toronto
Alba had ice on his right hamstring after coming off ten minutes from time at the DRV PNK Stadium.
Messi cut a similarly frustrated figure a few minutes later as he was handed the armband and replaced just 37 minutes after his return to MLS action.
‘Messi and Jordi had to get out. They were two unexpected substitutions. We will evaluate them these days,” Martino had said at half-time.
It was reportedly only the eighth time in 937 career starts that Messi has been substituted before half-time – and the first since October 2018.
The 36-year-old was back in the team after his defeat the team’s 5-2 loss Saturday in Atlanta, with what coach Martino described as “muscle fatigue.”
That defeat further dented Miami’s hopes of reaching the playoffs, but Messi took full part in training on Tuesday and immediately returned to the starting lineup.
‘I don’t think it’s anything new, or anything worse than before. It’s fatigue,” Martino said.
Messi had not played for Miami since September 4 after going on international duty and missing both the loss in Atlanta and the team’s victory over Kansas City.
Shortly after the double blow on Wednesday, Facundo Farias hit Miami ahead and Martino’s side eventually emerged victors 4-0.
Robert Taylor – who replaced Messi – scored two brilliant goals in the second half, with Benjamin Cremaschi also on the scoresheet.
Messi was seen walking through the tunnel of the DRV PNK Stadium shortly before halftime. He walked unassisted, but appeared to make some adjustments shortly before leaving the field. His body language told the story: his night was over.