web analytics
Lionel Messi’s status uncertain before Inter Miami vs. CF Monterrey | MLSSoccer.com

Lionel Messi’s status uncertain before Inter Miami vs. CF Monterrey | MLSSoccer.com

Lionel Messi will be a game-day decision for Inter Miami CF‘s Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinal first leg against Liga MX titans CF Monterrey, head coach Gerardo Martino confirmed on the eve of Wednesday’s clash at Chase Stadium (8 pm ET | FS1, TUDN).

The superstar No. 10, who has missed the Herons’ last three league matches with a hamstring injury, practiced alongside his teammates during Tuesday morning’s training session – fueling anticipation that he could feature for the first time since the club’s quarterfinal-clinching, 3-1 win over Nashville SC on March 13.

“Tomorrow we’ll decide. Today, I don’t know,” Martino responded when asked about Messi’s availability. “He trained today, yes. There’s still 24 hours left. Tomorrow we’ll decide.”

Even with five-time CCC champions Monterrey coming to town, Martino refuses to risk the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner.

“The main thing is Leo’s injury and managing the times of that injury. While it’s true we play a very important game tomorrow, you have to realize we’re in the beginning of April, everything is just getting started,” Martino explained. “What we can’t do is put our players’ physical condition at risk.

“We’ll decide what’s best for Leo.”

Suárez’s Monterrey warning

With or without Messi, Miami remain among the tournament’s most dangerous clubs – largely thanks to blockbuster offseason signing Luis Suárez. The legendary Uruguayan striker is off to a brilliant start in MLS, recording 5g/3a in league play while adding 2g/2a in CCC action.

“We know we’re going to suffer, we’re going to struggle [at times] because [Monterrey] have their strengths,” El Pistolero told reporters, hinting at the need to secure a positive home result ahead of the April 10 return leg at Estadio BBVA. “But we have to be prepared for those moments. And whoever plays best over 180 minutes will advance.”

Chief among Monterrey’s strengths is their attack. The Liga MX co-leaders (level on points with Club América) also boast the third-most goals in the league this season (23) – with Spaniard Sergio Canales and former FC Cincinnati striker Brandon Vazquez both contributing five tallies apiece.

“They have great players who are playing well right now, national team players. It’s a team with a No. 10 [Canales] who can make a difference, who played many years in Europe,” Suárez said. “… We know their strengths, but we also know their weaknesses.”

Injuries are no excuse

Messi is just one player Martino is keeping tabs on ahead of Wednesday night. The other big question mark is Nicolás Freire, the center back acquired on loan from Pumas UNAM who’s extremely familiar with Monterrey, given his Liga MX pedigree.

Meanwhile, fellow center back Sergii Kryvtsov has been ruled out, joining a growing injury list that most recently includes U22 Initiative midfielder Federico Redondo.

Still, Martino believes the Herons have enough depth and talent to go toe-to-toe with anybody in the tournament.

“We have to face tomorrow’s game without any type of excuse,” Tata said. “You all know the reality, but we are in conditions to compete and compete well, even with the injuries.”

Read More

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *