Both Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba will miss Inter Miami’s game against Orlando on Sunday after they were forced off during Wednesday night’s 4-0 win over Toronto.
And coach Tata Martino admited Messi is now uncertain to play in next week’s US Open Cup final against Houson Dynamo.
‘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. It’s fatigue,’ Martino said.
‘I don’t think it’s a muscular injury. There is no chance for them to play the Orlando match, but I do not think it’s anything serious or muscle injuries. I think it is just fatigue.’
The coach added that Messi will be assessed day by day between now and next Wednesday’s final in consulatation with the medical team. The win over Toronto was the first of six matches in 18 days for Miami.
Tata Martino admited Lionel Messi is now uncertain to play in next week’s US Open Cup final
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 he came out ten minutes before the end of the first half at DRV PNK Stadium.
Messi cut a similarly frustrated figure a couple of minutes later when he handed over the armband and was replaced just 37 minutes into his return to MLS action.
‘Messi and Jordi had to come out. It was two unexpected substitutions. We will evaluate them in these days,’ Martino had said at half-time.
It was reportedly only the eighth time in 937 career starts that Messi was substituted before halftime – and the first since October 2018.
The 36-year-old was back in the team after missing the team’s 5-2 loss at Atlanta on Saturday with what coach Martino described as ‘muscle fatigue’.
That defeat further dented Miami’s hopes of reaching the playoffs but Messi took a full part in training on Tuesday and he went straight back into the starting XI.
‘I don’t believe it’s anything new or anything worse than they had. It’s fatigue,’ Martino said.
Messi had not played for Miami since September 4 after going on international duty and missing both the Atlanta defeat and the team’s victory over Kansas City.
Shortly after the double blow on Wednesday, Facundo Farias volleyed Miami into the lead and Martino’s side eventually ran out 4-0 winners.
Robert Taylor – who replaced Messi – scored two brilliant second-half goals, with Benjamin Cremaschi also on the scoresheet.
Messi was seen heading down the tunnel at DRV PNK Stadium shortly before half-time. He was walking unaided but appeared to tweak something shortly before leaving the field. His body language told the story: his night was over.