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First Time Scoreless For Lionel Messi Era, Inter Miami Ties Nashville 0-0

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Inter Miami was unable to score for the first time since Lionel Messi joined the team, resulting in a goalless draw against Nashville on Wednesday night. During his first Major League Soccer match at home, Messi was unsuccessful in converting two free kick attempts, marking the first time he was unable to find the back of the net since joining Inter Miami. This coincided with the team’s decision to hire Martino in June, shortly after parting ways with Phil Neville. At the time of Martino’s appointment, Inter Miami had the worst record among the 15 Eastern Conference teams. However, under Messi’s leadership, the team won all seven of their Leagues Cup matches and advanced to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Additionally, Inter Miami secured signings of Messi’s former Barcelona teammates, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

Martino acknowledged the limited time he had with the team, attributing it to the frequent match schedule. Despite this, he expressed satisfaction with the team’s progress through video analysis and improvements observed during the games. In Wednesday’s game, Messi and Busquets were part of the starting lineup, having entered the previous match against the New York Red Bulls in the 60th minute. However, Inter Miami struggled to break through Nashville’s defense, failing to register any shots on goal in the first 60 minutes. In the 61st minute, Messi attempted a free kick after drawing a foul on Nashville’s Dax McCarty, but his shot towards the bottom-left corner was saved by Elliot Panicco. Nevertheless, Inter Miami fans eagerly captured the moment on their phones, hoping to witness another remarkable goal similar to Messi’s debut performance when he scored in the 94th minute to secure a victory against Mexico’s Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup opener.

First Time Scoreless For Lionel Messi Era, Inter Miami Ties Nashville 0-0

In the 69th minute, Hany Mukhtar of Nashville had a goal disallowed due to an offside call. In the 83rd minute, Messi had another opportunity, but his shot was deflected by a wall of defenders. Miami’s Kamal Miller, who made multiple plays during the match, expressed frustration at Nashville’s defensive tactics. He acknowledged that the team needs to adapt to this strategy, as it is likely to be employed by future opponents. Martino, in agreement with Miller, credited Nashville’s defense for their victory. He emphasized that packing players near the goal increases the likelihood of maintaining a clean sheet. Miller noted that Nashville’s defensive approach made it difficult for Messi to create scoring opportunities. He stressed the importance of not relying solely on Messi and mentioned the need for the coaching staff to devise strategies to break down opposing teams.

The match marked the first time a team had employed such a blatant defensive strategy against Inter Miami. Miller stated that the team will review the game footage and work with the coaching staff to find ways to overcome similar tactics in the future, suggesting that quicker ball movement could be a key solution. The two teams had previously faced each other in the Leagues Cup final just 10 days ago. Messi scored early in the game and converted the first penalty kick, leading Miami to victory in an 11-round shootout. After the match, Messi and his Inter Miami teammates celebrated with co-owner Jorge Mas, proudly displaying the Leagues Cup trophy in front of their home fans.

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