Inter Miami shrugged off an injury concern over Lionel Messi to beat Toronto FC 4-0 on Wednesday (Sep 20) with Robert Taylor scoring twice as they boosted their playoff hopes. Messi returned to the starting line-up after skipping Saturday's 5-2 defeat at Atlanta due to muscle fatigue but he had to leave the field in the 38th minute, looking uncomfortable. His former Barcelona team-mate, Spaniard Jordi Alba who had also sat out the trip to Atlanta, had limped off three minutes earlier in the game.
Lionel Messi returned to the pitch after nearly two weeks on Wednesday (Sep 20) night. But he didn’t even make it to halftime. Messi, the Argentine World Cup champion and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, started and played only 37 minutes of Wednesday’s 4-0 victory against Toronto FC at DRV PNK Stadium.
Messi – who missed two Inter Miami games and played in just one of two World Cup qualifying matches for Argentina this month – has been dealing with either a right leg injury or fatigue after a grueling stretch since late July.
Inter Miami coach Gerardo Martino said Messi was evaluated for an injury while with the Argentina national team, but their scans did not show an injury.
However, Messi was seen with some discomfort and stretching his right leg around midfield, shortly after charging the net and pulling out wide without a shot before exiting the match.
“He had an old injury that had been bothering him. The scans he had with the national team, they didn’t show any injury. We still saved him to be safe,” Martino said of Messi after the match Wednesday.
“We don’t think he has a muscular injury. That’s also from a conversation I just had with him. But we have to continue being careful. And we’ll look at it the next few days.”
Messi and Jordi Alba, who left the match shortly before Messi did, are both considered day to day. But Inter Miami does have its focus set on the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final against the Houston Dynamo FC on Sep 27.
Beginning with its Toronto match, Inter Miami has entered a stretch of six matches in 17 days.