With the US Open Cup final just days away, Inter Miami were worried about their two stars Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba.
Inter Miami may have paid dearly for their well-deserved 4-0 (1-0) home win over bottom side Toronto FC, who remain winless away from home. Because world champion Lionel Messi and Spaniard Jordi Alba already had to retire in half one – and this with an important game ahead of them.
The severity of the injuries – Jordi Alba visibly limped off the field – was not disclosed for the time being, but one thing is already clear: Both will not play in the league match against Floridian rivals Orlando City on Sunday. This is a sign of things to come, as Inter will be aiming for another title. Miami will face Houston Dynamo FC in the U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday.
“We have to take it day by day, look at the doctors’ report, what they tell us and then we will decide,” Miami coach Gerardo Martino offered some hope for a Cup appearance, talking about how he didn’t think it was “anything new or bigger” than what had already caused both players to rest in the recent 2-5 loss in Atlanta. So maybe not a muscle injury.
Chances of making the wild card round
Miami is on the way up in the Eastern Conference and climbed to third last place with the win, although they are still five points behind ninth place, which would entitle them to the play-off preliminary stage (wildcard round). But Martino’s team still has two games in hand on conference ninth-placed DC United.
Since Messi’s debut, Miami had won 11 of their first 12 games before the loss in Atlanta. One match ended in a draw. In addition, David Beckham’s club won the Leagues Cup, the first title in the club’s young history.
Bürki and Lions still ahead – Mukhtar scores
First in the East is FC Cincinnati, who drew 1-1 in Montreal and are eight points ahead of Orlando. In the West, meanwhile, St. Louis City SC, led by goalkeeper Roman Bürki and Eduard Löwen, who also played in the Bundesliga. St. Louis held off chasing champions LAFC, led by Timothy Tillman, by a 0-0 scoreline to move six points clear.
German Hany Mukhtar, last season’s top scorer, marked his 14th goal in a 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas and is co-leader on the current list. Former Schalke man Teemu Pukki scored once for the visitors in Minnesota’s 4-3 loss at L.A. Galaxy, but the match-winner was 37-year-old Englishman Billy Sharp, who scored three times in total and scored twice to turn around a 3-1 deficit.
Shaqiri off the pitch
Colombian Cucho scored a hat-trick until the 23rd minute in Columbus Crew’s 3-0 win over Chicago Fire, with one goal coming from German Julian Gressel, who is now also playing for the US national team. For the visitors, ex-Bayern professional Xherdan Shaqiri was shown the red card.