Inter Miami’s Messi-Dependent Streak Ends with Crushing 5-2 Defeat to Atlanta United

Inter Miami's Messi

Inter Miami lose their first game since July 15, 2023, after being crushed by Atlanta United 5-2 without Lionel Messi.

The impact of Lionel Messi on Inter Miami’s performance cannot be overstated. It’s almost as if Inter Miami transforms from a formidable force into a Sunday league team without the Argentine magician on the pitch. The Messi effect is unprecedented and immeasurable, and Saturday’s match against Atlanta United served as a stark reminder of that fact.

Inter Miami's Messi

Lionel Messi didn’t travel with Inter Miami for Saturday’s road game against Atlanta United, and it would have been his first MLS match on a turf field since signing with the club in July. Coach Gerardo Martino confirmed that Messi wasn’t injured but needed to be cautious due to his recent continuous playtime. Since his arrival, Messi had played in 11 matches, scoring 11 goals and assisting 5 times – a testament to his immense impact.

Inter Miami's Messi

Despite Inter Miami not announcing the reason for Messi and Jordi Alba’s absence, Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank ruled out the artificial turf as a cause. “Messi played on artificial turf as a youth player as well as a professional player. I think that’s no reason not to do it. Maybe Messi is injured, although not seriously,” Blank commented.

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In the end, Inter Miami faced a tough loss, falling 5-2 to Atlanta United in MLS action. This defeat pushed Inter Miami down the standings, with just one point separating them from the 8th and 9th spots. However, luck seemed to be on their side as both Montreal and DC United drew their matches.

The road ahead for Inter Miami in their quest for an MLS playoff spot looks challenging, with only a few games remaining. The contrast between their performance with and without Messi is striking, as they had previously crushed Atlanta United 4-0 with the Argentine superstar. Saturday’s loss serves as a reminder that Messi is a team unto himself.

The question now is whether Inter Miami can muster enough points to secure a spot in the playoffs’ knockout stage. Given their recent performance without Messi, it’s a tough road ahead. However, as the saying goes, in football, anything is possible. Let’s see how Inter Miami bounces back from this setback and whether they can make a late-season surge to secure a playoff spot.