top of page
  • Writer's pictureFred

Inter Miami has No Margin for Error

Headlines across the sports world today screamed:

Soccer's Biggest Star Arrives in the United States!

The problem for Lionel Messi is that Inter Miami's season is well over half way completed.

And they are in last place.

Now in Major League Soccer, there is a new playoff format where the Top 9 teams in each conference make the playoff cut. The Top 4 teams are given home field advantage in the first round. Look at the standings in the East, Miami can't even see the top seed. Even if Cincinnati lost every single remaining game and Miami won every single remaining game, statistically, it's too late, they couldn't lock down that top spot.

Which means Miami, legitimately, is hoping to slide into the 9 slot for the play-in game. (8 & 9 play each other, winner travels to the #1 seed.) But what are the chances of that happening?

Last year only the top 7 teams in the East made the playoffs. The last playoff spot went to the Orlando City SC. Their record was 14 wins, 14 losses, and 6 draws for 48 points. The very definition of a .500 club.

In order for Miami to match that number this year, they'd have to finish with 9 wins, 1 loss, and 3 draws the rest of the way out. Again, not impossible, they are adding one of the best footballers in the world, but there are still other issues.


If you go back to Miami's first game back in February against Montreal, this was their starting lineup:

GK: D. Callender

D: F. Niori

D: C. McVey

D: S. Kryvtsov

D: D. Yedlin

M: R. Pizarro

M: Gregore

M: J. Mota

F: J. Martinez

F: N. Stefanelli F: C. Jean

If you fast-forward to last week, only 5 of 11 starters were the same as in the first game. What happened to USMNT staple DeAndre Yedlin? He's at the Gold Cup. You know what I see on the roster? Very few players with LaLiga or Ligue 1 experience. I also see a lot of turmoil in Miami, they fired their coach just a month ago and, even though Gerardo Martino from Argentina is a good hire, he's still the third coach of the team this year.

So Messi is going to be asked to win with a bunch of strangers.

Now let's hypothesize that all the stars align and Messi puts the Herons on his back and carries them to the playoffs. They secure the 7 seed in the playoffs and America has Messi Fever. The problem is, there is a likely scenario that Lionel Messi would be playing in a cold-weather stadium, quite possibly Foxborough, against the New England Revolution.

And? According to former teammate Luis Suarez, Messi doesn't like cold weather, citing Paris' climate as one of the hard adjustments in Messi's time at PSG. Paris averages 2 inches of snow a year. There's a real chance that Miami could have to travel to Montreal for the 8 v 9 game.

I love Messi, but he's going to have the decked stacked against him right out of the gate in a way that most international soccer fans don't understand. Few Europeans are aware of MLS' unique calendar. In 2024 & 2025, Miami will be a betting favorite for MLS Cup.

I predict a MLS Cup in Lionel Messi's future.

But not this year.

22 views0 comments
bottom of page