Miami faces A-Match challenge without Messi
Miami will participate in the A-Match.”We must succeed without Messi.”
“We have to get used to winning without Lionel Messi.”
So said Tata Martino, head coach of American professional soccer’s Inter Miami, which has become one of the most famous soccer clubs on the planet thanks to Messi.
Miami won a 2-0 Major League Soccer (MLS) away match against the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 27.
Miami, which started the game with Messi on the bench, took the lead in the 37th minute on a goal by Diego Gomes.
After being subbed off for Leonardo Campana in the 15th minute of the second half, Messi scored in the 44th minute to seal the win for Miami.
He converted a pass from Benjamin Kremaski with a precise shot to open the scoring.
It was his ninth consecutive offensive point since arriving in the United States and his MLS debut.
In the postgame press conference, Martino made a point of noting the significance of the goal without Messi.
“Messi is going to join the Argentina national team. We’re going to have to get used to playing without him, so I want to put a lot of value on this victory,” Martino said, emphasizing that “the players need to know that even without him, we have to continue to produce results.”
In fact, Martino’s comments may not make sense to fans unfamiliar with American professional soccer.
It’s common practice for at least the top division of each country’s professional soccer league to rest during FIFA’s A-match window.
However, this is not the case for American professional soccer. Since its inception, the MLS has rarely taken a break during the A-Match.
Even during the World Cup, MLS only takes two weeks off from the opening ceremony.
Even when a number of key players are called up to the national team and unable to play for their clubs, it’s considered normal to play the league schedule with only reserves.
In the immediate future, MLS will continue to play its league schedule during the next A-Match, September 4-12.
Miami will face LAFC and Sporting Kansas City during that time.
“Messi will miss at least three games this season with the Argentina national team,” Martino said, reiterating that “we have to get used to winning without him.”
Miami, which was at the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference before Messi’s arrival, moved up one spot to 14th with the win.
Messi made his debut in front of American fans in the group stage of the League Cup against Cruz Azul on March 22, scoring the game-winning goal in stoppage time.
From there, Messi scored in seven consecutive matches in the League Cup, totaling 10 goals and one assist as Miami cruised to a fairytale win.
Messi followed that up with two assists in the U.S. Open Cup 먹튀검증 semifinals against Cincinnati on Sept. 24, including a pinpoint cross with his team down 0-2.