MLS

Orlando City 0-0 Inter Miami: Messi-less Herons held by Florida rivals

By Sports Desk May 16, 2024

MLS leaders Inter Miami were held to a 0-0 draw by state rivals Orlando City on Wednesday, as they failed to spark in Lionel Messi's absence.

Messi was missing from the squad due to a knee injury, and Miami were unable to extend their winning run to six MLS games without their superstar.

Indeed, other than a few Luis Suarez attempts, Orlando had the better of the chances at Inter&Co Stadium.

Yutaro Tsukada might have won it for Orlando on his debut, but the substitute sliced off target late on.

Miami are a point clear of FC Cincinnati at the top of the Eastern Conference, and Gerardo Martino will hope to have Messi back for the Herons' clash with D.C. United.

Data Debrief: Miami's unbeaten run rolls on

They may not have taken all three points, but Miami are now unbeaten in eight MLS matches. It is their longest unbeaten streak in the competition.

Orlando, meanwhile, have failed to score in five of their 12 games this term; no team has failed to do so more often in MLS.

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    Messi, who turned 37 on Monday, and his team-mates are preparing to resume their Copa America title defence against Chile on Tuesday.

    The reigning champions, who began their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Canada, celebrated their skipper's big day by presenting him with a cake.

    Messi wrote on Instagram: "Thank you so much for all the greetings and congratulations! Another year that coincides with my birthday being with the National Team, so celebrating a little bit more and we keep getting ready for our next game."

    And Scaloni understands it must be difficult for the Inter Miami forward not to have the opportunity to celebrate with his family.

    "I know how hard it is for him to be away from home on his birthday," the head coach told reporters during his pre-match press conference.

    "We try to make sure he has the best time possible with his team-mates. We are used to it. He knows he has a whole country behind him.

    "The important thing is that Messi is here. He trained normally and is fit to play [against Chile]."

    Messi was part of the Argentina side that lost to Chile in successive Copa America finals on penalties in 2015 and 2016.

    The eight-time Ballon d'Or briefly retired from international duty following the latter, in which he missed his spot-kick, but overturned his decision before eventually leading his nation to Copa America and World Cup glory in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

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    "There is nothing left of [those finals]. Just as it is with last year’s World Cup, it's history. There's no point in going back.

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  • Hungary forward Varga undergoes successful surgery after worrying injury Hungary forward Varga undergoes successful surgery after worrying injury

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    The forward required urgent medical attention after colliding with Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn in the 68th minute of the crucial Group A encounter in Munich on Sunday.

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    Yet within 30 seconds, Mattia Zaccagni's maiden Azzurri goal had sent Italy through into the last 16, and it's Croatia who are on the verge of an early departure.

    Lineker responds

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    Ferdinand said the England players shouldn't expect pundits to act as "cheerleaders" when the team aren't performing.

    Strike a pose

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    Vertonghen sees into the future

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