After beating Liga MX Santos Laguna on Saturday, Orlando City will head down Florida’s Turnpike to face Messi and a rejuvenated Inter Miami CF squad.
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In Leagues Cup play, the Lions won their two games in the South Region 2 against the Houston Dynamo FC and Santos Laguna to take the top spot in their group.
Now the Lions get their first opportunity to play Messi and Inter Miami Wednesday night at DVR Pink Stadium in the round of 32 to see which team moves on in the Leagues Cup.
Since Messi’s signing in July, he has played in two Leagues Cup matches.
Miami beat Liga MX’s Cruz Azul, 2-1, in the first round after Messi’s stoppage-time goal in his first official appearance.
In the second round, Miami beat Atlanta United 4-0 with two goals a piece from Messi and Robert Taylor.
In Leagues Cup play, Miami has looked unstoppable. With the addition of Messi, the team seems inspired and motivated to put teams away, a far cry from Miami’s regular season play.
Inter sits in last place in the Eastern Conference with 18 pts. It will take a Messi miracle for the team to make the playoffs with 12 matches left in the regular season.
Miami and Messi have also played the last two matches in the comfort of Ft. Lauderdale and DVR Pink Stadium.
The team will travel to their first away game since Messi’s signing on Aug. 23 in a U.S Open Cup game against Cincinnati, and the next regular season game is Aug. 26 at the New York Red Bulls.
Only time will tell how the travel will impact the team over the rest of the season, but if the MLS Cup is not in their future, winning the Leagues Cup or U.S Open Cup is well within their control.
If Miami can pull off winning one of those cups, this will be a successful season for the Inter Miami CF squad and a perfect start for Messi’s time in South Florida.
But they first need to get past Orlando City Wednesday night.
In regular season play, Orlando went down to Miami on May 20 and walked away with a 3-1 win. The Florida rivals next match in regular season play is Sept. 24 at Exploria Stadium.
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