Stadium Roars for Messi: Inter Miami and El Salvador Share the Spoils

January 20, 2024
Inter Miami initiated their 2024 pre-season journey with a faceoff against El Salvador on Friday night at Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador. The encounter culminated in a 0-0 stalemate, marking the onset of the year for Inter Miami and the highly awaited debut of soccer legend Lionel Messi.

Messi’s Premier Outing

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Lionel Messi’s entrance into the Inter Miami lineup was brief but impactful. Alongside former Barcelona luminaries Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets, Messi graced the first half of their initial pre-season clash. The Estadio Cuscatlán echoed with cheers each time Messi engaged with the ball, and the fans bid him farewell with waves as he exited the Inter Miami bench in the 87th minute, heading towards the locker rooms.

Despite two opportunities in the first half, Messi couldn’t secure a goal. His free-kick before halftime faced a wall of defenders, and a shot on goal in the 35th minute was thwarted by El Salvador goalie Mario Gonzalez. Alba’s attempt was also blocked by Gonzalez, while Suarez and Busquets left their mark in the initial period.

The Game Dynamics

Luis Suárez partnered with Lionel Messi in the forward line during the match. However, as the second half unfolded, Inter Miami’s prominent quartet was substituted out. In the 63rd minute, four other Inter Miami starters – Tomas Aviles, Justin Gressell, DeAndre Yedlin, and Benjamin Cremaschi – made way for substitutes.

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The injury-induced exit of Facundo Farias left Inter Miami playing with 10 men. Farias, a returning young talent from last year’s roster, encountered a knee injury. This match marked the first occasion since 2020 when Messi, Suarez, Busquets, and Alba played together.

Anticipating the Future

Inter Miami is set to traverse over 25,000 miles during their pre-season global tour before the official commencement of the 2024 MLS season. This match was just the initial leg of their journey. The upcoming pre-season fixture against FC Dallas at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas holds promise, despite the scoreless draw, as it represents Lionel Messi’s debut with Inter Miami and sets the stage for the team and fans eagerly anticipating the remainder of the pre-season and the official kickoff of the 2024 MLS season.

Image source: Google

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