Brad Guzan Faces Messi Again | Leagues Cup Clash Sparks Excitement
Tuesday night's Leagues Cup clash between Inter Miami CF and Atlanta United (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass) will see Brad Guzan face off against the formidable Lionel Messi once again, not for the first time in his career.
As the veteran goalkeeper for the Five Stripes, Guzan was in goal when Messi's Argentina handed the US men's national team a 4-0 defeat in the semifinals of the 2016 Copa America Centenario. That memorable match in Houston included a stunning Messi free-kick goal from a position on the pitch similar to his game-winner against Cruz Azul during his debut for Inter Miami CF last Friday night at DRV PNK Stadium.
Guzan understands the immense challenge of facing the GOAT (Greatest of All Time), a player admired by many of his teammates. He acknowledged the excitement of playing against one of the world's best players but emphasized that their main focus is to travel with the objective of achieving a positive result. It's about being fully prepared and concentrated for the entire match, including any potential extra time or penalties.
In this upcoming match, it appears that Messi and his fellow new teammate, Sergio Busquets, will have more significant roles for Miami, with hints that they might even be part of the starting lineup. Their impact on the team's dynamics is anticipated, and Messi's leadership qualities have already been recognized, as he will be the captain for the game.
For Atlanta United's current head coach, Gonzalo Pineda, facing Tata Martino, his predecessor who led them to an MLS Cup championship in 2018, carries special significance. Pineda admires Martino's work both in Atlanta and with the Mexican national team, and while they share some similarities in their coaching philosophies, he knows he has to bring his best to the field to guide his team to success.
Pineda's strategy to counter Messi's influence revolves around limiting his involvement by denying him possession. Additionally, Atlanta boasts a World Cup-winning teammate of Messi's, Thiago Almada, who could play a crucial role in the match.
Overall, the stage is set for an exciting encounter between two talented teams, with Messi's presence adding an extra layer of anticipation and challenge for both sides.