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This Eastern Conference clash takes place on Saturday evening, Lionel Messi watched from the stands on Wednesday as his side lost the US Open Cup Final against Houston. Will the Pulga play? The Inter Miami vs NYCFC predicted lineups give us some insight into that question and the strength of both sides.
Messi’s availability has sparked conversation for weeks as he struggles with muscular fatigue. If he sits out again, do the hosts have enough quality in the locker room to win?
Inter Miami vs NYCFC predicted lineups and news
Despite the cup final defeat, Inter Miami have shown good form at the DRV PNK Stadium in recent weeks, and are unbeaten in five MLS matches. However, they are suffering the secondary effects of their success in both cup competitions as the games continue to pile up. Several players other than Lionel Messi hardly trained this week.
The Pigeons had a comfortable 3-0 win over bottom club Toronto prior to this match, they are perched just above the Herons in the standings.
Team news: Inter Miami
Wednesday saw a couple of surprise inclusions in the starting lineup, especially Diego Gómez who had hardly trained since injury. He was withdrawn at halftime and didn’t train on Friday along with Jordi Alba and Robbie Robinson.
Defensively Martino has alterted between a back five and a back four and often rotated Sergey Kryvstov and Tomás Áviles. With Alba out and Franco Negri having torn his ACL in June, the homegrown teenage talent Noah Allen has got lots of minutes at left back. He has an issue the other side too with DeAndre Yedlin suspended.
Josef Martínez looked in fine form when he came on as a sub and he could be handed the starting role over Leo Campana here.
Inter Miami predicted lineup: 3-5-2
Callender – Kryvstov, Áviles, Miller – Taylor, Cremaschi, Busquets, Arroyo, Allen – Campana, Martínez
Team news: NYCFC
The visitors have been in a great run of form, but with the advantage of playing their last five matches at home. How will NYCFC perform on the road? Their last outing was a 3-0 collapse to Eastern Conference leaders Cincinnati.
Nick Cushing has got the best out of Algerian attacker Monsef Bakrar in recent matches, the 22 year old has netted three goals in his last five outings. Brazilian forward Talles Magno also made a rare start, his first in three months, as he comes back into the fold.
Nick Cushing knows his side are on good form and declared on Thursday that “We want to attack the game” in the final press conference before flying south. He also highlighted how good his side have been defensively, they have conceded just one goal in five games, piling praise on Norwegian defender Birk Risa.
NYCFC predicted lineup: 4-2-3-1
Freese – Gray, Martins, Risa, Cufre – Sands, Perea – Jasson, Rodriguez, Magno; Bakrar
Will Lionel Messi play today?
It is a question that is being asked every week at the moment, Lionel Messi was supposedly being rested for the US Open Cup Final but didn’t even appear on the bench. On Friday morning it seemed he would definitely not be participating in training, only for journalists to spot him trot out towards the end of the warm ups.
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— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) September 29, 2023
It is no doubt that Inter Miami need him if they are to make a late charge for the playoffs, the 36-year-old former Barcelona and Paris St. Germain star hasn’t lost yet in a pink shirt. There are three games, including this one, squeezed in before the international break so Martino must be weighing up how best to use him.
It seems unlikely that the Argentinian coach will rush him into the starting lineup, especially with a trip to Chicago coming up in midweek. The sensation coming out of the Inter Miami camp is that Messi could play a role but only from the bench. Inter Miami supporters in South Florida might have to be patient to see the star light up their Saturday evening against NYCFC.
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