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Inter Miami's Messi Magic Can Enchantment Extend to Foreign Fields

 Inter Miami's Messi Magic Can Enchantment Extend to Foreign Fields

Inter Miami's Messi Magic Can Enchantment Extend to Foreign Fields(Image-Getty)

Inter Miami CF's initial three matches featuring Lionel Messi have been enchanting, raising the question of whether they can recreate this enchantment on foreign turf.

The answer to this query will emerge on Sunday night when the rejuvenated Inter Miami side faces a road challenge against FC Dallas, with a Leagues Cup quarterfinal position hanging in the balance.

Judging by their performances on their home ground during the tournament, Inter Miami is poised to present a formidable challenge at Toyota Stadium.

To begin with, Lionel Messi has sparkled with an impressive 5 goals and 1 assist, forming a seamless connection with fellow summer marquee signings and FC Barcelona legends Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. This partnership has not only elevated Messi's teammates' performance but has also showcased his capability to enhance his comrades' level of play. A case in point is Robert Taylor, the Finnish international who has notched up three goals and three assists since joining forces with the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner and the 2022 FIFA World Cup champion.

DeAndre Yedlin, the team's right-back, emphasized the team's favorable position, stating in a pre-match press conference on Friday, "Clearly, the team is currently in a positive state. However, our objective in this tournament is to secure victory, and we won't be content until we achieve that."

However, Dallas is unlikely to simply concede. Following a penalty shootout loss to Charlotte FC in the group stage opener, the Texan club has emerged victorious against two Liga MX adversaries (Necaxa and Mazatlán), earning a spot in the Round of 16.

Furthermore, FC Dallas's head coach, Nico Estévez, has closely examined three full matches' worth of Inter Miami's gameplay footage. Notably, he focused on the Round of 32 match against Orlando City SC, where effective defensive strategies by the Lions curtailed Busquets' impact in the midfield.

Regarding the potential targeting of the 35-year-old Spanish midfielder, Yedlin commented, "If I were on the opposing team, I would likely adopt that approach too. After all, he's a mastermind in the midfield."

However, Yedlin hastened to add that Inter Miami now boasts an abundant wealth of attacking options. He asserted, "We possess numerous skilled players in the squad. Even if we encounter difficulties in progressing through the middle, we'll undoubtedly find alternative pathways. That's the team's forte."

If strategic tactics prove insufficient, adversaries could resort to traditional physicality and psychological mind games. Orlando effectively utilized this approach, provoking reactions from Messi. The Argentine superstar engaged in physical exchanges with Uruguayan midfielder César Araújo and exchanged words with Brazilian Felipe Martins.

Acknowledging the distinct nature of the most recent match, Miami's head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino conceded, "Indeed, the previous game differed from the preceding ones. There was an increased level of friction." Martino, keenly aware of Messi's influence on rival teams, stated, "There exists a reverence for the finest player globally. Nevertheless, when the 90-minute battle ensues, both teams share a common goal of victory."

Yedlin echoed his manager's sentiments, acknowledging that Inter Miami has now become the club that every other team is eager to face, and ultimately, defeat. Yedlin said, "I believe every opponent will strive to bring their best performance against us. If I were on the opposing team, my motivation would be the same."

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