Lionel Messi’s Race Against Fatigue: Will He Shine in the U.S. Open Cup Final?

Lionel Messi's Race Against Fatigue: Will He Shine in the U.S. Open Cup Final?

Injured Lionel Messi Ruled Out for Inter Miami vs. OCSC, Uncertain for U.S. Open Cup Final

Fort Lauderdale, Florida – September 20, 2023: Lionel Messi, #10 of Inter Miami, has been sidelined for his team’s upcoming MLS match against Orlando City SC due to muscle fatigue. This setback occurred during Inter Miami’s convincing 4-0 victory over Toronto FC on Wednesday, forcing Messi to exit the game in the 37th minute.

Coach Tata Martino’s Statement

Inter Miami’s head coach, Tata Martino, stated after the match that there is no chance Messi and Jordi Alba, who also left the match due to an injury, will be available for Sunday’s game (as reported by ESPN’s Ross Devonport). Martino emphasized their importance by saying, “I know we have a final to play [next Wednesday], but they won’t go near the pitch if they can’t play.”

Messi’s Upcoming Opportunities

Messi’s next potential appearance is slated for the U.S. Open Cup final against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday. Prior to this injury, Messi had not played since September 7, when he led Argentina to a 1-0 victory in a 2026 World Cup qualifying match against Ecuador. Notably, Messi participated in 11 matches for Inter Miami from July 21 to September 3, making it a demanding schedule for the 36-year-old superstar. Nevertheless, Messi’s performances were remarkable, and Inter Miami remained unbeaten during this period.

The Nature of Messi’s Injury

Fortunately, the injury doesn’t appear to be severe, according to Martino, who stated, “They trained normally and we felt like they were ready to play. I don’t believe it’s anything new or anything worse than what they had before. It’s fatigue. We don’t think it’s a muscular injury. That’s also from a conversation that I just had with [Messi]. But we have to continue being careful and we’ll look at him over the next few days.”

Messi’s Performance and Exit

Despite the discomfort, Messi was able to walk off the field unassisted on Wednesday, underscoring the hope that the injury is not serious. He had an impactful performance before his exit, taking three shots (one on goal) and contributing to Inter Miami’s dominant win.

Next Possible Appearance

In the event Messi is unable to participate in the U.S. Open Cup final, fans will have to wait until September 30 when Inter Miami faces New York City FC for his potential return to action.

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