Miami Put Four Past Toronto Despite Messi’s Early Exit
By Jamiu Ogunshe, Lagos
Inter Miami shrugged off an injury concern to Lionel Messi to boost their Major League Soccer playoff hopes with a 4-0 thrashing of Toronto FC on Wednesday.
Messi returned to the starting line-up after skipping Saturday’s 5-2 defeat at Atlanta due to muscle fatigue but left 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, also limped off three minutes earlier in the game.
Miami coach Gerardo Martino said the pair are now ruled out for Sunday’s Florida derby with Orlando City and was uncertain about their involvement in next week’s US Open Cup final.
“We have to go day by day, see the doctor’s report, what they tell us and we will decide. Obviously, there is no ‘chance’ that they will be there on Sunday,” he said.
I don’t think it’s anything new or bigger than what they had been having. It’s just fatigue, I don’t think there is a muscular injury,” he said, defending the decision to play them.
“Everything was in place for the players to play … There is no possibility (that they were pressured to play). If we made them play it was because they were fit to play”
“After talking to them, I don’t have the same pessimism I had when I had to take them out,” he said.
Despite the blow of losing their star and one of their most influential players, Miami swept aside the Eastern Conference’s bottom club with ease, Messi’s replacement Robert Taylor scoring twice after coming on.
Facundo Farias opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time with a blistering volley after Toronto keeper Tomas Romero had meekly palmed out a Noah Allen cross.