Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — Lionel Messi trained Friday morning, but he will once again make a game-time decision for Inter Miami as they face a key home MLS matchup against New York City FC on Saturday.
Assistant coach Javier Morales also said Friday that veteran leftback Jordi Alba will miss a second straight contest with a hamstring injury.
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“Leo will train, make decisions every day,” Morales said. “Jordy’s recovery will be long.”
Both former Barcelona teammates missed Wednesday evening’s 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final as Miami failed to claim a second trophy of the season.
Miami conceded 18 shots on goal in the first half before making some adjustments at the break and coming close to forcing overtime with some late chances.
The South Florida club sits five points and five spots out of the MLS Cup playoff race, with Saturday’s opponent NYCFC grabbing the ninth and final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. A win on Saturday could see Miami jump from 14th to 11th and within two points of the playoff spots if it can claim the three points and get some help elsewhere.
Saturday’s contest will be the first of three MLS games in eight days for Miami, in what could be a key stretch that will play a heavy role in determining its postseason fortunes.