Lionel Messi’s debut for Inter Miami lived up to the expectations and then some. The Argentine hit an expertly curled free kick on the last action of the game to give his side all three points on the first matchday of the Leagues Cup against Cruz Azul. Now it’s Inter Miami vs Atlanta United on the second matchday on July 25, 7.30 PM.
Here’s the match preview, buildup, team news, and more as Miami bears witness to Messi mania!
Inter Miami vs Atlanta United preview
Inter Miami come into the game on the back of that unforgettable 2-1 victory over Cruz Azul courtesy of Messi’s wonder strike.
Sergio Busquets also made a sterling debut, rolling back the years as he pinged the ball into Messi’s feet from his deeper midfield role.
With momentum on their side, Tata Martino’s outfit will enter this game full of confidence.
In their path will be Atlanta United, one of the best-supported teams in the USA. Atlanta are in 7th place in the MLS, 17 points clear of Inter Miami at the bottom. They haven’t played yet in the Leagues Cup, so their game against Miami will be their first.
Gonzalo Pineda’s side lost to Orlando City 1-2 in the MLS fixture which was their last game, on July 15.
A 10-day gap can have both effects- rust from not playing regularly, or rested legs. Atlanta will hope it’s the latter so they can bother the 36-year-old Messi who will have played a game just four days before when this one kicks off.
Inter Miami vs Atlanta United predicted lineup
Inter Miami team news
Tata Martino has seen an injection of stardust into his team with Messi and Busquets and more cavalry is on the way in Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez. They are also the prime candidate to be Andres Iniesta’s next club.
Messi might start this game after coming off the bench and regaining match sharpness in the last one. Ian Fray’s injury is a big worry for Miami as the 20-year-old homegrown star was carried off the pitch last game. Lionel Messi dedicated his goal to the highly-rated midfielder so his absence will be felt.
Predicted Inter Miami XI: Callender, Yedlin, Miller, Kryvtsov, Allen, Arroyo, Busquets, Ruiz, Messi, Campana, Taylor
Atlanta United team news
Atlanta do not have many injury worries and with a 10-day gap between their last fixture and this one, Pineda will go with his strongest XI.
Ageless Wonder Brad Guzan is ever-present in goal. Miles Robinson, Juan Sanchez, and Luis Abraham should make the back three in front of him.
Thiago Almada is the creator-in-chief for them and the battle between Almada and Messi, two Argentine compatriots, will be interesting to witness.
Derrick Etienne might start as the striker ahead of Miguel Berry with Giorgos Giakoumakis also an outside candidate.
Predicted Atlanta United XI: Guzan, Robinson, Sanchez, Abraham, Lennon, Sosa, Rossetto, Wiley, Mosquera, Almada, Etienne
Inter Miami vs Atlanta United prediction
Momentum is a great thing in football and right now, Inter Miami have plenty of it. Messi will once again be in front of his home fans at the Inter Miami stadium- DRV PNK.
Expect Miami to go hard early as they channelise the fan support to put pressure on Atlanta. If Atlanta weather that storm, then it could be anybody’s game, as Atlanta arguably have the better overall squad. However, a Messi goal will blow the roof off the stands and Miami will then capitalise on the euphoria to continue their winning run in the Leagues Cup.
FootTheBall predicts Inter Miami 2-1 Atlanta United.