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Without Messi, Miami's winning run ends with derby draw

By AFP

May 16, 2024 10:36 AM


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Inter Miami's 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 Saturday's win at Montreal, wasn't 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.

Messi's 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 Orlando's 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 that's what stands out the most," he added.

- Crew bounce back -

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.

Los Angeles FC won 2-0 at St.Louis City with last year's Golden Boot winner Denis Bouanga scoring both goals after Brazilian Joao Klauss had seen a penalty saved for the home side.

Dean Smith's Charlotte FC continued their impressive run, picking up a third straight win with former Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood scoring a beautiful, curling free-kick on the hour.

Atlanta United's winless run extended to seven games with a 1-0 loss at Cincinnati with Argentine playmaker Thiago Almada forced off with a calf injury in the 25th minute.

Cincinnati's 19-year-old Venezuelan striker Kevin Kelsy, on loan from Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk, secured the team's fifth straight win with a seventh minute header.

The Philadelphia Union suffered a fourth straight home loss with a 2-1 defeat to New York City in a game which was halted for five minutes after a raccoon ran on the field.


AFP


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