On game day, we still don’t have any more of an answer to whether Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi will start, play or sit for the U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday.
Inter Miami manager Tata Martino spoke to the media on Tuesday and didn’t offer any more clarity on the status of Messi.
Let’s get into it.
Inter Miami Doesn't Answer "Will He, Or Won't He?'
Wednesday night is a big night in the young history of Inter Miami as the club looks toward its second major trophy of the season.
The Herons will square off with the resurging Houston Dynamo in the U.S. Open Cup final at DRV PNK Stadium.
But the biggest question remains whether Messi will start, come off the bench or stay out of the championship final.
The same question lingers for defender Jordi Alba.
With Messi, the lack of playing time recently was originally attributed to simple game fatigue.
That’s understandable considering he came off a full season with Paris Saint-Germain, took a month off, signed with Inter Miami and entered a full slate of Leagues Cup matches.
The fatigue seemed to hit home during the international break when Messi joined Argentina for its matches with Ecuador and Bolivia.
He sat out the final match in La Paz, Bolivia, then returned to South Florida where he was used sparingly over the last three matches.
Now, Inter Miami manager Tata Martino has suggested the reason for Messi’s lack of playing is due to scar tissue from a previous injury.
So, it isn’t that Messi has a new injury. It seems an older injury has crept up and is hampering the forward.
Messi trained with the side on Monday and some on Tuesday, but Martino emphasized that his playing in the final against Houston was a “game-time decision.”
"We are going to wait on Leo (Messi) until the last moment."- Inter Miami manager Tata Martino
All of that said, Martino added that because this is a cup final, there is a strong chance the team will take a risk and play Messi. If not for that, I don’t think he’d play.