Inter Miami snatched a 1-0 win over D.C. United thanks to Leonardo Campana’s stoppage-time strike.

Campana had an instant impact after coming on in the 93rd minute as he volleyed in the winner just 25 seconds later.

Lionel Messi returned from a knee injury that kept him out against Orlando City but struggled to have his usual impact as Miami only managed eight shots.

Cristian Dajome had come closest to scoring for D.C. minutes after his introduction, but his dipping shot sailed over the bar.

Miami remain a point clear of FC Cincinnati at the top of the Eastern Conference, while D.C. sit ninth, a huge 14 points behind the league leaders.

Data Debrief: Miami continue to set the pace

Miami left it late to get back to winning ways but extended their unbeaten run to nine games. It is their longest run without defeat in the competition.

D.C. have now conceded eight goals in the last 15 minutes of the second half - only Montreal (10) and San Jose Earthquakes (10) have conceded more in that time in the MLS this season. 

Gerardo Martino is expecting Lionel Messi to play for Inter Miami at home to D.C. United this weekend, though he emphasised he would not take "any risks".

Messi was absent as Miami were held to a 0-0 draw away at Orlando City last time out with what Martino described as a "bit of a niggle".

The goalless draw, combined with FC Cincinnati's win over Atlanta United, means Miami's lead at the top of the Eastern Conference has been closed to just a point ahead of this weekend's fixtures.

As Miami look to get back to winning ways this weekend, Martino believes Messi will be able to return, though he will not rush the former Barcelona man back onto the field.

"The fact is that he felt some pain in his movements and, given that we're on a run of three games in the space of a week, we felt the most sensible thing to do was leave him out of today's game," Martino told reporters.

"The plan is that he'll play on Saturday, but it’s going to depend on how he progresses. We’re not going to take any risks, and on Thursday and Friday we'll assess his fitness."

D.C. were handed a first loss in four as they were thumped 4-1 by the New York Red Bulls in midweek, but head coach Troy Lesesne believes the defeat does not cancel out the previous solid form displayed by his side.

"For the last three weeks, we can feel good about our performance, and tonight doesn’t just erase all that," Lesesne said.

“We're building still. We can recognise tonight was a setback.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Inter Miami – Luis Suarez

With Messi absent against Orlando, Suarez couldn't make it four straight games with a goal as he drew a blank. With Messi potentially missing again on Saturday, Suarez will be keen to get back among the goals to help his team to victory.

D.C. United – Christian Benteke

Benteke was held scoreless against the Red Bulls despite taking six shots in the match. It was Benteke’s third MLS match this season with at least six shots with all other D.C. players having combined to do that once in league play in 2024 (Gabriel Pirani). The former Liverpool man certainly isn't afraid of pulling the trigger, though he will be hoping this time to find the back of the net with one or more of his efforts at goal.

MATCH PREDICTION – MIAMI WIN

D.C. are unbeaten in three all-time matches at Miami. D.C. are the only opponent that have visited Miami more than once in regular season play and never lost.

Miami’s five-game winning streak ended Wednesday with a 0-0 draw with Orlando. Miami had exactly seven shots for the second straight match, the club’s first time having consecutive MLS matches with single-digit shots since May-June 2023.

In Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Red Bulls, D.C. attempted 22 shots while allowing 11. The plus-11 shot differential was United’s highest in a loss by three or more goals since a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew in April 2013 (+14).

In 2024, Miami have one win in their five MLS matches (two draws, two defeats) without Messi and seven victories in their nine games with him. The team’s goals per game average in MLS matches this season is 3.2 with Messi, and 1.2 without him.

Messi is clearly Miami's star man, then, and with him looking likely to feature this weekend, the hosts will be the favourites to return to winning ways at the top of the Eastern Conference.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Inter Miami - 50.8%

D.C United - 22.9%

Draw - 26.3%

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.

Oscar Pareja accepts Orlando City need to tweak their approach ahead of Wednesday's rematch with Florida rivals Inter Miami, who thrashed them 5-0 when the teams last met in early March.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored two goals apiece as Miami crushed Orlando in their third game of the season in Fort Lauderdale, one of their MLS-high eight wins in 2024. 

Miami have won each of their last five games – the latest being a 3-2 triumph at CF Montreal on Saturday – to stay three points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference, while Orlando are languishing in 11th.

Pareja's team enter Wednesday's derby in good spirits after beating the Philadelphia Union 3-2 last time out, though, and he is relishing the quick turnaround.

"This is a project where you have to be prepared every day. After this result in Philadelphia, we have to prepare the derby, then think about going to the West Coast," he said.

On Miami, he added: "There are always two ways to prepare the games. 

"Normally we think about putting relevancy on the way we do things, but obviously we have to have references on the other team.

"How can we impose our model or control them? We already have a game where we played them, and we'll try to make less mistakes than we did that day."

During Miami's last match, Messi hit out at a newly introduced rule which forced him to leave the pitch due to requiring treatment following a heavy challenge from Montreal's George Campbell.

Had Campbell been booked, the restart would have been delayed for Messi.

As he was not, Miami were forced to play with 10 men for two minutes, but Matias Rojas scored a free-kick in the Argentine's absence, kickstarting their comeback from 2-0 down.

Coach Gerardo Martino said of the incident: "With these new rule changes, there are situations that must be revised. 

"The foul was clear and was a yellow card, and ultimately it was us that lost Leo for two minutes."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

Orlando City – Nicolas Lodeiro 

Lodeiro assisted all three of Orlando's goals against the Union last time out, becoming the third player in club history to tee up three goals in an MLS game, after Kaka and Yoshimar Yotun. 

The former Seattle Sounders man is also one of just nine players in MLS history to have a three-assist game with two different teams.

Inter Miami – Luis Suarez 

Suarez's goal against Montreal last time out was his 11th in MLS this season, taking him ahead of Messi in the Golden Boot race. 

The Uruguayan leads the way despite only making nine league starts, and he also scored twice in Miami's 5-0 rout of Orlando back in March.

MATCH PREDICTION – ORLANDO CITY WIN

Despite Miami's fine form, there are definitely vulnerabilities to be found – they are the first team in MLS history to concede the first goal in five straight games and win all of them.

They may not be able to rely on rescue acts forever. Orlando overcame a 1-0 deficit to beat Philadelphia 3-2 last time out. 

Since the start of last season, the Lions have won six and drawn five of their 10 MLS games when conceding the first goal. Their average of 1.1 points per game in such contests during that span is second only to FC Cincinnati's 1.13. 

Orlando are also unbeaten in six all-time home matches against Miami, winning two and drawing four. The Herons are the only team Orlando have hosted five or more times and never lost to in MLS play.

With Miami reliant on a few wonderful but ageing stars, the exploits of their recent matches may just catch up with them on Wednesday.  

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY 

Orlando City – 52.8%

Inter Miami – 21%

Draw – 26.2%

Lionel Messi was left frustrated by being kept on the sidelines after an injury scare in Saturday's win over CF Montreal, with Inter Miami head coach Gerardo Martino calling for a revision of MLS rulings.

The former Barcelona superstar was visibly furious after being forced off temporarily from a George Campbell foul, with the Miami forward missing a chance to take a presentable free-kick opportunity.

New MLS regulations state players must leave the pitch for two minutes if the referee stops play due to a potential injury that leaves them on the ground for over 15 seconds.

Following the 3-2 triumph over Montreal, Martino questioned the ruling and suggested it punished the wrong party.

"There are situations that must be revised," the Herons boss said.

"In Leo's situation, he was clearly fouled. The player deserved a yellow card, which would mean Messi would've never left the field for two minutes.

"As I understand it, the team that suffered the foul was punished. With these new rule changes, some situations must be revised.

"The infraction was clear and was a yellow card, and ultimately it was us that lost Leo for two minutes."

Miami were left further aggrieved despite making it five straight wins to move three points clear at the Eastern Conference summit.

Luis Suarez failed to leave the pitch in under 10 seconds when replaced by Leo Campana in the 92nd minute, with new MLS regulations meaning the fourth official delayed the substitution for another minute.

"In the case of Suarez, we had a very important difference with the fourth referee in respect to the minute," Martino added.

"We thought Suarez exited the pitch in under a minute, he did not see it that way and so Leo Campana's entry to the game was delayed."

Inter Miami came from behind once more to beat CF Montreal 3-2 and go three points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference.

For the sixth match in a row, Miami found themselves behind when Bryce Duke slotted in the 22nd minute, and Jules-Anthony Vislant, who set up the opener, finished off a lovely team move 10 minutes later.

However, Miami displayed their fighting spirit again. Matias Rojas stepped up to a free-kick while Lionel Messi received treatment, curling a delightful strike into the top corner.

Shortly before the break, Luis Suarez turned the ball into an empty net while Benjamin Cremaschi completed the comeback in the 59th minute when he bundled it over the line after being picked out by Rojas.

Miami hold a three-point lead over Supporters’ Shield holders FC Cincinnati at the top of the East, with the Orange and Blue keeping pace with a 2-1 win over Columbus Crew. 

Data Debrief: Comeback Kings

Miami have won 20 points from losing positions already in the MLS this season, more than any other team. It is the first time they have come from 2-0 down to win since a 3-2 victory over Charlotte in July 2022. 

On a quiet day for Messi by his standards, Suarez stepped up with a crucial goal, netting his 11th of the season to equalise. The Uruguayan has now scored in each of his last three matches.

CF Montreal coach Laurent Courtois has been delighted by the way his players have adapted to his methods this season, though he joked he would still swap any of them for Lionel Messi ahead of Saturday's clash with Inter Miami.

Montreal sit 11th in the Eastern Conference standings with 12 points from their first 10 league games under Courtois, 12 adrift of early pacesetters Miami. 

However, plenty of outside factors have impacted their start to the season, not least the fact they have played eight of their matches – including each of their first six – on the road.

Courtois is proud of the way his players have learned on the job, though he still believes there is more to come from them. 

"I keep telling them that I have no in-between. I'm either going to be your biggest fan, or really tough and really demanding. Because we don't have time to play. We don't have time to lose," he said.

"At the same time, I'm such a fan of what they've been doing, accepting the stuff that I've been asking them to do, while being on the road for three months. 

"I think they want to play soccer in the right way. I have a few codes that I think can be helpful. 

"We need together to come up with common ground to execute in this way. They're still far from what I think they can do."

However, Courtois does see one area for improvement ahead of Saturday's clash with the Herons, quipping: "I wouldn't change any of my players for any others – except Messi."

Miami trounced the New York Red Bulls 6-2 last week, with Messi scoring once and laying on five assists in an incredible performance. 

That display left coach Gerardo Martino in disbelief, as he said: "I always say this, and it's redundant at this point, but he always does something new. 

"To have an involvement in all six goals of a team's goals in a 6-2 is something that will be difficult to see again."

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

CF Montreal – Jonathan Sirois

Last week's 4-1 defeat at Nashville SC was the seventh time Montreal have conceded four or more goals in a regular-season MLS game since the start of 2023, more than any other team.

Only two MLS goalkeepers have faced more shots than Sirois (55) in 2024, though he has conceded 2.1 goals fewer than Opta's expected goals on target (xGoT) model suggests he should have. He will need a big performance against Messi and company.

Inter Miami – Lionel Messi

Messi has 10 goals and 12 assists in eight league matches this season. No player in MLS history had reached 10 goals and 10 assists in fewer than 16 appearances in a season before.

The Argentine has also reached 25 goal contributions in 14 MLS matches overall, seven fewer than any other player in MLS history required to bring up that figure.

MATCH PREDICTION – CF MONTREAL WIN

Montreal have won six of their nine all-time meetings with Miami (one draw, two defeats), including a 3-2 victory over the Herons on March 10. 

Only New York City FC (2.22) and the Chicago Fire (2.17) average more points per match against Miami than Montreal (2.11) among teams the Herons have faced five or more times.

While Montreal are winless in their last three league games, the last two of those were played on the road.

On home soil, they are a different proposition, going unbeaten through their last six games (two wins, four draws), including a win and a draw in their first two home matches of 2024. They have only lost three of their last 17 regular-season home games dating back to last April (10 wins, four draws).

Miami, despite their star quality, have been vulnerable this campaign, trailing in nine MLS games – a joint-high alongside the San Jose Earthquakes. They cannot keep relying on rescue acts.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

CF Montreal – 47.2%

Inter Miami – 25.7%

Draw – 27.1%

Lionel Messi had a hand in all six goals while Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick as Inter Miami overcame the New York Red Bulls 6-2 at Chase Stadium.

The Eastern Conference leaders were on a three-match winning streak in MLS, but fell behind to Dante Vanzeir's opener in the 30th minute.

However, the hosts turned the match on its head after the break, with Messi assisting a brace for half-time substitute Matias Rojas either side of getting on the scoresheet himself.

Suarez then took centre stage with a hat-trick inside 13 minutes - all assisted by his former Barcelona team-mate - while Emil Forsberg's stoppage-time penalty was a mere consolation for the visitors, who are now without a win in four.

Data debrief

Messi broke two more MLS records following yet another inspirational display for the Herons.

The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner's six goal contributions and five assists were both the most recorded by a player in a single game.

Leonardo Campana does not concern himself with competing with team-mate Lionel Messi when it comes to Inter Miami records.

Campana has netted 25 goals during his time with Miami, while Messi – who joined the club midway through 2023 after leaving Paris Saint-Germain – has scored 22 times.

Only Gonzalo Higuain (29), has scored more goals than Campana and Messi for the Herons in the club’s short history.

Campana, though, shrugged off the suggestion that he is in competition with Messi to become Miami’s record goalscorer.

"No, I don't really pay it much attention,” he said.

“I just try to enjoy it when it's my turn to play. Obviously, if I could manage it, it would be incredible, but we all know that Leo [Messi] is coming up behind me very quickly, so let's see what happens."

Asked if Messi will catch up with his own tally, Campana played the question with a straight bat, replying: "As I said, Leo is coming up fast. So, obviously, it makes me happy for him, for everything he creates for the team. But my time will come.

"As I always say, having Leo [Messi] on the pitch is a positive. It's good, when he's in the national team, we feel his presence, and when he's here with us, we feel him and when he's not, we feel that too. We know what he creates on the pitch and, obviously, when he's not there we always try our best to do a good job. But as I say, Leo is Leo and always when he's not there, it's different."

Next up for Miami – the Western Conference leaders – and Messi are the New York Red Bulls, who are four points behind the Herons in the standings.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Inter Miami – Lionel Messi

Messi has contributed to at least one goal in 10 consecutive club matches in all competitions for the seventh time in his career and the first since 2018 (12 straight). Messi has scored in six straight league matches for the first time since January-February 2021.

New York Red Bulls – Lewis Morgan

Morgan has scored seven goals this season, including one on Saturday and three against Miami in March. Last season, Omir Fernandez and Elias Manoel led the Red Bulls with six total goals all season.

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

While the Opta predictor is forecasting a draw, there has never actually been a draw between these two teams, with the Red Bulls recording six wins to Miami’s three, including a 4-0 victory in New York in March. Indeed, the Red Bulls have won three of their four away games against the Herons.

Miami have scored 78 goals in 36 matches in all competitions since Messi made his debut for the club last July, 14 more than any other MLS team in that time. Saturday’s 4-1 win over the New England Red Bulls was the 15th time Miami has scored at least three goals in a match in that time.

The Red Bulls are unbeaten in six straight regular-season matches (W2 D4), though the last three matches have all ended in draws. New York have had only one longer unbeaten run in league play since 2017, an eight-match stretch in September-October 2021.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Inter Miami – 39.7%

New York Red Bulls – 31.4%

Draw – 28.9%

Lionel Messi scored twice and laid on a goal for Luis Suarez as Inter Miami retained their three-point lead at the Eastern Conference summit with a 4-1 win over the New England Revolution.

A franchise-record crowd of 65,612 people witnessed a flying start from the Revs as they took the lead within just 37 seconds at Gillette Stadium. Carles Gil pounced on some sloppy play from Miami to tee up Tomas Chancalay, who lobbed Drake Callender for the opener.

However, Miami roared back with Messi leading from the front. They had a deserved equaliser just after the half-hour mark, Messi slotting home after latching onto Robert Taylor's throughball.

Messi had his second after 67 minutes, producing another composed finish after former Barcelona team-mate Sergio Busquets split the New England backline.

Messi was involved in another two goals as Miami added some gloss to the scoreline late on; his first-time shot was saved by Henrich Ravas but Benjamin Cremaschi was on hand to score on the rebound after 83 minutes, then the Argentine teed up Suarez for a curled finish five minutes later.

Miami stay three points clear of Supporters' Shield holders FC Cincinnati at the top of the East, with the Orange and Blue keeping pace by beating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Saturday.

Data Debrief: Messi rolls back the years

Ahead of Saturday's game, some feared Miami boss Gerardo Martino would opt to rest Messi after speaking of the risks of fielding the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner on New England's artificial pitch.

However, Messi came through 90 minutes with another mesmerising performance. He has now recorded a goal involvement in 10 straight club matches for the seventh time in his glittering career, last doing so for Barcelona between September and December in 2018.

Coach Caleb Porter will treat the New England Revolution's next eight games as a "mini season", as the MLS strugglers prepare to welcome Inter Miami to Gillette Stadium on Saturday.

The Revs sit last in the Eastern Conference standings with just four points from their first eight games of 2024, having lost their last two against New York City (0-2) and Toronto FC (0-1).

Miami, meanwhile, are setting the pace in the East with 18 points from 10 matches, Lionel Messi scoring twice to help Gerardo Martino's team to a 3-1 win over Nashville SC last time out.

Having started to come under pressure just five months into his reign, Porter says the Revs should approach Saturday's match with a clean slate. 

"The first eight games weren't good enough in terms of our record, points, goals for, goals against," Porter said. "Bottom line, it wasn't good enough.

"Right now, it's almost a new mini season, these next eight games. What's our record going to be at the end of these eight games?"

Defender Nick Lima, meanwhile, called on the Revs to stay calm as he pointed out how quickly things can change in MLS.

"Things happen fast in this league, man," he said. "We're one or two games away, then you're fighting for a playoff spot already, and who knows what happens from there?"

The Revs could be in luck for Saturday's match, with reports suggesting the artificial turf used in Foxborough could cause Miami to think twice about risking some of their stars.

Jordi Alba is injured and Luis Suarez may be held back, given his history of knee issues, but Miami full-back Julian Gressel expects Messi to feature.

"I will ask when we're preparing for the game, but I'm sure we'll find out who will be available," Gressel said during an appearance on the Player/Manager podcast.

"But he [Suarez] is the only one who has a question mark. Of course, Alba's hurt."

Asked if Martino may decide against risking Messi, he added: "Not from what I've heard."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New England Revolution – Tomas Chancalay

New England are the lowest scoring team in MLS with just five goals this year, despite attempting 14 shots per match, above the league average of 12.8. The Revs' 4.5 per cent conversion rate is the worst in MLS, with every other team scoring with at least 7 per cent of their shots this year.

Chancalay has been one of the Revs' worst offenders, failing to score a single goal from a team-high tally of 22 shots this year, totalling 2.31 expected goals (xG). He has also missed a team-high four big chances this campaign, as defined by Opta.

Inter Miami – Lionel Messi 

Messi has contributed to a goal in nine straight matches in all competitions, scoring nine goals and recording five assists in total, the second time he has enjoyed such a run since joining Miami (also doing so between June 21 and August 26 last year).

The Argentina great has contributed to at least one goal in 19 of his first 23 appearances for Miami in all competitions (20 goals, 10 assists). As ever, if Messi plays, everything will go through him.

MATCH PREDICTION – NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION WIN

With four points from eight matches, New England have made their worst start to a season in club history. 

Their 1-0 defeat to Toronto last time out was their sixth of the campaign, one more than they suffered during the entirety of the 2021 season, when they won the Supporters' Shield (22 wins, seven draws, five defeats). 

However, they may just feel home advantage gives them a chance of upsetting Messi and company on Saturday. After the visiting team won both meetings between the Revs and Miami in the 2021 season, the home side won all four meetings across the following two campaigns. 

New England's three victories over the Herons have come by a combined scoreline of 10-1, while Miami's three wins over the Revs have all come by one-goal margins (6-3 on aggregate). 

Miami have only won two of their last eight away league matches (two draws, four defeats), and given the likelihood of at least one of their big names being rested, the Revs may fancy their chances.

Should Messi be rested, Miami have only won one of their four matches without him in MLS this season (one draw, two losses), taking one point per game compared to 2.3 with the Argentine. 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

New England Revolution – 54.2%

Inter Miami – 20.4%

Draw – 25.4%

Lionel Messi was at his brilliant best for Inter Miami on Saturday, scoring two goals and adding an assist en route to a 3-1 victory over Nashville SC.

After a Franco Negri own goal gave Nashville the advantage early, Messi equalised in the 11th minute and set up Sergio Busquets’ 39th minute goal to make it a 2-1 score at half-time.

Following a back-and-forth second half, the Argentinian slotted a penalty in the 81st minute to put the result out of reach.

Speaking after the match, Busquets said in Spanish: “Very happy that the goal helped the team win the match.

“What matters is the team and the victory. Today, I managed to score but the ultimate accomplishments are the positive results for our team.”

Messi improved his MLS-leading goals tally to seven, following a previous two-goal game against Orlando in March.

The veteran has now scored a goal or assisted in each of the six league matches he has played, having missed four due to injury.

Miami remains in first place in the Eastern Conference, with the side scheduled to face New England next Saturday.

Nashville SC coach Gary Smith is not looking forward to his team facing Lionel Messi for the third time this year, with the Inter Miami star fit and firing ahead of Saturday's MLS clash in Fort Lauderdale.

A hamstring issue caused Messi to spend almost a month on the sidelines before he returned with a goal in Miami's 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids earlier this month.

The Argentina great was then on the scoresheet again last weekend, as Miami ended a five-game winless run with an entertaining 3-2 success against Sporting Kansas City.

With Messi also scoring in both legs of a CONCACAF Champions Cup triumph over Nashville in March, Smith is sick of the sight of the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"I'm a little bit disappointed that Lionel Messi has gotten himself back into tip-top sharp form as we come back into town again!" Smith said.

"I think that what we can safely say is when he's in the group, there's a very, very different feel and look and inspiration about that team."

Nashville are winless in three games since beating Charlotte FC 2-1 last month, with Daniel Gazdag's last-gasp strike condemning them to a 2-1 defeat against the Philadelphia Union last time out.

Smith believes his team are at least giving themselves a chance of picking up results, adding: "When we've got our best group on the field — and we need to have our best group on the field — we're very competitive."

Miami's win over Kansas City ensured they will enter the weekend top of the Eastern Conference standings, and boss Gerardo Martino is pleased to see them setting the pace.

"Being first in the standings is comforting, especially with a long week ahead," Martino said. "It was very important for us to get out of that rut of getting ties, losses, and making mistakes."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Inter Miami – Lionel Messi

Messi has been involved in at least one goal in each of his first five league games of the season, the second time he's done so in his career, having achieved the feat in six straight matches with Barcelona to begin 2013-14 in LaLiga.

The Argentine has also managed at least one goal involvement in each of his eight appearances for Miami across all competitions in 2024, including two goals and one assist in two matches against Nashville.

Nashville SC – Jacob Shaffelburg

Shaffelburg has assisted each of Nashville's last two MLS goals, one in each of their last two matches.

Previously, he had only recorded one assist in his first 40 regular-season matches with Nashville. Will his purple patch continue in Florida?

MATCH PREDICTION – INTER MIAMI WIN

Nashville have only managed one win in their last 15 away games against MLS opponents across all competitions (six draws, eight defeats).

That run, which stretches back to June 2023, includes a draw and a loss against Miami, who are also unbeaten in five straight head-to-head meetings between the teams (two wins, three draws).

Last week's 3-2 win over Sporting KC was the 11th time Miami have scored three or more goals in their 22 games with Messi making an appearance, across all competitions. They have only scored three or more goals on 15 occasions in their 134 all-time games without the Argentine. He should be involved on Saturday, and that makes them favourites. 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Inter Miami – 36.6%

Nashville SC – 33.8%

Draw – 29.6%

Lionel Messi scored on his return for Inter Miami in their 2-2 draw against Colorado Rapids.

Messi has been out of action since he was subbed off during the Champions Cup match against Nashville on March 13, missing four Inter Miami games and two with Argentina during his period on the sidelines.

He returned to the field on Saturday night from the bench, scoring and equalising in the 58th minute after Colorado forward Rafael Navarro netted a penalty just before half-time.

His fourth goal in the MLS this season, Messi beat Rapids keeper Zack Steffen to the ball and took a low shot that struck the post before skittering across the goal, eventually crossing the line.

Just minutes later Messi was involved again, passing to David Ruiz, who sent it towards forward Leo Afonso for his first goal at the club, giving Inter Miami the lead.

Colorado’s Cole Bassett hit back to level the game in the 88th minute for the Rapids, driving the ball into the bottom right corner with his left foot.

Lionel Messi has scored in his return for Inter Miami in their 2-2 draw against the Colorado Rapids.

Messi has been out of action since he was subbed off during the Champions Cup match against Nashville on March 13, missing four Inter Miami games and two with Argentina during his period on the sidelines.

He returned to the field on Saturday night from the bench, scoring and equalising in the 58th minute after Colorado forward Rafael Navarro scored via penalty just before halftime.

In his fourth goal in the MLS this season, Messi beat Rapids keeper Zach Steffen to the ball and took a low shot that struck the post before skittering across the goal, eventually crossing the line.

Just minutes later Messi was involved again, passing to David Ruiz, who sent it towards forward Leo Alfonso for his first goal at the club, giving Inter Miami the lead.

Colorado’s Cole Bassett hit back late to tie the game in the 88th minute for the Rapids, driving the ball to the bottom right corner off his left foot.

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