A mere month and a half ago, Inter Miami soared to a 4-0 victory against Atlanta United, thanks in large part to the contributions of Lionel Messi, who netted two goals and provided crucial assists. However, the recent showdown between these two Major League Soccer (MLS) teams paints a starkly different picture. With Messi sidelined due to injury concerns, Inter Miami appears to have lost its rhythm, suffering a devastating 5-2 defeat at the hands of Atlanta United.
It was no secret that Messi would be absent from this clash to mitigate the risk of further injury. In the previous match, Inter Miami managed to secure a victory without their star player. Nevertheless, this time around, the Florida-based club couldn’t maintain that trend, enduring a disheartening loss that dealt a severe blow to their MLS playoff aspirations.
The match started on a promising note for Inter Miami. Stepping in for Messi, Leonardo Campana showcased his prowess by finding the back of the net in the 25th minute, granting his team an early lead. However, Campana’s goal seemed to awaken Atlanta United, who retaliated with a vengeance.
In a staggering sequence, Atlanta United scored three goals in just eight minutes, turning the tide of the game. Tristan Muamba found the net in the 36th minute, followed by Brooke Lennon in the 44th minute. Tragedy struck for Miami in the 41st minute when Kamal Miller inadvertently scored an own goal, compounding their woes.
Entering the second half, Inter Miami aimed to regroup and salvage the match, but their efforts proved futile, mirroring the struggles of the initial half. Campana managed to add another goal to his tally in the 53rd minute, converting a penalty. Nevertheless, Atlanta United maintained their relentless offensive pressure.
The dagger in the heart came when Georgios Giacomakis and Taylor Wolfe scored for Atlanta United in the 74th and 89th minutes, respectively, sealing Inter Miami’s fate with a resounding victory.
Following this demoralizing defeat, Inter Miami finds itself languishing at the 14th position out of 15 teams in the MLS standings. With 9 wins, 4 draws, and 15 losses in 27 matches, they have accumulated just 31 points. Only FC Toronto sits below them with 25 points. The gap to secure a playoff spot has expanded significantly, with DC United at the 9th spot boasting 37 points.
As Inter Miami seeks to regroup and regain their momentum, the absence of Lionel Messi is certainly felt keenly. The team faces the daunting task of revitalizing their MLS campaign in the hopes of securing a playoff berth.