Nine games before the end of the regular season—three of them without Lionel Messi—Inter Miami overcame obstacles on the impossible quest to reach the MLS playoffs.
Last Sunday, Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s team took a new step towards that goal. They defeated reigning MLS champion Los Angeles FC 3-1.
After this win, Messi embarked on a 10,000-kilometer journey from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. The star will join the Argentine team at the start of South America’s qualifiers ahead of the 2026 World Cup in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
In any case, the best player in the world left with a great taste in his mouth and also left the promise that with Inter Miami, they will fight to the last drop of sweat not only to make the playoffs but also to win the title.
“The goal is to finish in the top eight,” said Messi. “Then we will try to win the league. Obviously, wins give us confidence.”
With 27 points at stake, the Schwarz-Rosen could pull off a miracle. They actually have to move up to ninth place to earn playoff eligibility and finish in the top eight in the MLS playoffs.
Sunday’s win in Los Angeles gave Inter Miami 25 points, and ninth in the Eastern Conference is DC United with 33 points. That means Messi’s side not only has to win but also hope for the capitalists to lose their pace.
In reality, the distance separating Inter Miami from the set goal is three wins.
On a collective level, the Rosanegros have greatly improved. “Tata” Martino has managed to assemble a squad that fits his vision of collective play and ball control. And this is also retained during the rotations carried out.
In Los Angeles, Martino used his six summer signings for the first time since the start: Tomás Avilés, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Diego Gómez, Lionel Messi, and Facundo Faras.
In fact, Faras opened the scoring against Los Angeles after 14 minutes on an Avilés serve. Then Alba (51st) and Leonardo Campana (83rd) scored. In the last two goals, the passes were Messi’s.
The performance of Messi and his squad delighted the stars who attended BMO Stadium, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Prince Harry, LeBron James, Will Ferrell, and Selena Gomez.
On September 9, the Schwarz-Rosa will play again at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
They host the Kansas City Royals, who are fourth in the Western Conference standings with 40 points.
Messi and several starters nominated by their respective teams for the World Cup qualifiers in South America will not take part in this game.
Then, on September 16, Inter Miami will visit Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
September has been a busy month for the Black Roses, with seven games, including their clash with Houston in the Lamar Hunt Cup US Open final.
Before Messi, Inter Miami was on a nine-game winning streak. There was an explosion that caused great astonishment.
In the 11 games Messi has played in the League Cup since his debut against Cruz Azul on July 21, the Rosanegros are unbeaten with 10 wins and one draw. The Argentinian star has scored 11 goals and provided five assists.
The three games played without Messi will be a tough test for Inter Miami, but Martino has known how to move his pieces, and most likely the team will respond to the demands and his claim, not just in the playoffs but also in achieving the miracle of continuing to win the MLS title.