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Without Messi, Miamis winning run ends with derby draw

Published : Friday, 17 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 317

Without Messi, Miamis winning run ends with derby draw

Without Messi, Miamis winning run ends with derby draw

MIAMI, MAY 16: Inter Miamis five-match winning run came to an end on Wednesday as, without the injured Lionel Messi, they were held to a 0-0 draw at Orlando City.

Messi had featured in all five of those wins for the MLS league leaders but sat out the game in Orlando due to a knee injury.

Miami coach Gerardo Martino said the injury, a knock picked up in Saturdays win at Montreal, wasn serious but they had opted not to risk him with a game coming up on Saturday. Martino said Messi had been in "discomfort" but had trained in the days before the game and tests had come back "fine".

"With three games this week and with him still in pain to manoeuvre we thought it was prudent for him not to play. The idea is for him to play on Saturday but it will depend on how he continues to evolve. He trained again today and did well but we are not going to take any kind of risk. We will evaluate him," said the Argentine coach.

Messis former Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez, who went into the midweek round of games as joint top-scorer in the league with 11 goals did start and he had the early chances.

The Uruguayan was picked out at the back post but his shot lacked power and was well dealt with by Orlandos Peruvian international keeper Pedro Gallese.

Paraguayan Matias Rojas and Suarez then combined well to set up Robert Taylor but the Finnish winger saw his effort block.

Orlando grew into the game though and Miami keeper Drake Callender had to be at his best to keep out a shot from Martin Ojeda after the Argentine had found space with a superb turn on the edge of the box.

Colombian Luis Muriel then tested Callender with a shot from the edge of the box but the two defences began to get a grip on the game.

Orlando had the best chance of the second half when Facundo Torres fed Muriel but the former Atalanta winger hesitated and was robbed inside the box.

In the last seconds, Orlando pushed forward in search of a winner and the ball fell to Japanese substitute Yutaro Tsukada but he screwed his shot high and wide.

"There is something that is impossible to achieve without Leo and that is his ability to play in the last 25 metres of the pitch," said Martino.

"Inter feel that now, just like Barcelona did 10 years ago. When the opposition withdraws and there is little space, he solves it. Today we lacked that. Today we were a tidy team with good passing (...) defensively we were solid and thats what stands out the most," he added.

Elsewhere in MLS, champions and CONCACAF Champions Cup finalists Columbus Crew bounced back from their Ohio derby defeat to Cincinnati with a 3-1 win at Montreal thanks to goals from Max Arfsten, Diego Rossi and Marino Hinestroza.    —AFP

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