US Open Cup final: Messi’s potential return adds intrigue

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Messis recent struggles with what was initially labelled muscle fatigue have led to concerns. AFP/File
Messi’s recent struggles with what was initially labelled muscle fatigue have led to concerns. AFP/File

In the lead-up to the US Open Cup final between Inter Miami and Houston Dynamo, the question on every football enthusiast’s mind is whether Lionel Messi will grace the pitch. 

The Argentine maestro’s potential participation remains shrouded in uncertainty, with Coach Gerardo Martino yet to make a definitive call.

Martino revealed that Messi’s former Barcelona comrade, Jordi Alba, is unlikely to feature in the final due to injury. 

Martino candidly shared his perspective on the situation, stating, “We will wait until tomorrow (Wednesday) — Jordi, I don’t think so, it is difficult — but Leo, we will wait until tomorrow, we will wait last minute to make a decision.”

However, Messi’s situation is different, with a final decision set to be made just moments before the match kicks off.

Martino emphasised that Messi’s inclusion in the consideration is solely due to the prestige of the final and the prospect of lifting the title, saying, “If it were one of 34 (regular-season Major League Soccer) games, we wouldn’t take a risk.”

The US Open Cup final carries significant weight for Inter Miami, having the opportunity to secure their second major trophy since Messi’s arrival, following their Leagues Cup triumph last month. Martino underlined that Messi’s inclusion in the consideration is solely due to the prestige of the final and the prospect of lifting the title.

Messi’s recent struggles with what was initially labelled muscle fatigue have led to concerns. Martino mentioned “scars” that have been troubling the star player. 

He added, “We always talk, we will get together and find the best way. We have to consider three things — the player, the final and what comes after. We have to assess all three things.”

The coaching staff is carefully evaluating Messi’s condition, taking into account his well-being, the importance of the final itself, and the implications for the future.

Despite his absence from training sessions and recent matches, Messi’s potential return remains a focal point of discussion leading up to the US Open Cup final. Fans of Inter Miami eagerly await the decision, hoping for Messi to add another accolade to the club’s collection.

With the final drawing closer, all eyes will be on whether Messi can overcome his fitness woes to grace the US Open Cup final with his unparalleled talents. 

The uncertainty surrounding his participation adds an extra layer of intrigue to this historic competition, making it a must-watch event for football enthusiasts around the world.

US Open Cup

The US Open Cup, a storied knockout tournament for both amateur and professional teams, has been a cornerstone of American soccer since its inception in 1914. 

Its rich history makes it the oldest soccer competition in the United States. While not always in the spotlight, the US Open Cup has a unique charm that resonates with football purists, celebrating the essence of the sport.

For Inter Miami, the US Open Cup final represents a golden opportunity. The chance to lift this historic trophy would mark their second major title of the season, following their victory in the Leagues Cup just last month. 

The prospect carries immense significance for the club, as it solidifies their growing presence in American soccer and adds another chapter to their evolving story.

Winning the US Open Cup would not only bolster Inter Miami’s silverware collection but also underline their competitive capability in the Major League Soccer (MLS). 

In a league that has seen the emergence of several strong contenders, Inter Miami’s quest for glory in the US Open Cup further cements their place among the elite.

As they await Lionel Messi’s fitness evaluation and the final decision regarding his participation, Inter Miami understands that this tournament provides a unique platform to showcase their ambition and attract even more fans to their cause. 

The US Open Cup is not just a competition; it’s a chance for clubs like Inter Miami to etch their names into American soccer history and leave an indelible mark.

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