Is Lionel Messi playing today? Inter Miami visit LA Galaxy in first road trip of 2024 MLS season

Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami kicked off the 2024 season with a winning performance, albeit an ugly one, as they topped Real Salt Lake 2-0 at home.

They now hit the road for their first away match of the year, traveling across the country on short rest to face the LA Galaxy. Following a preseason tour that saw the Herons travel over 23,000 miles with games in El Salvador, Hong Kong, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, the lengthy trip only adds to the side’s early-season road woes.

Messi was electric in the opener against RSL, assisting the first goal and generating the chance for the second, but the same could not be said of his teammates who were sloppy both on and off the ball, especially in the second half as their legs tired.

With that in mind, head coach Gerardo Martino will have his hands full keeping all his aging stars fit and ready for action, and rest will be required at various points of the season. Messi will be at the forefront of those discussions, and his availability will be a chief storyline all year long.

The Sporting News takes a look at Inter Miami’s preseason and whether Messi will play this evening. 

MORE: See Inter Miami’s full 2024 schedule here

Will Lionel Messi play against LA Galaxy in MLS?

With Lionel Messi playing the full 90 minutes against Real Salt Lake in the season opener, it seems the Argentine legend is off to a flying start. He didn’t get a goal in the match, but did pick up the assist on the first goal of the entire 2024 MLS season.

However, on a short turnaround with just four days between matches, it’s possible that Messi could possibly see less than 90 minutes, and that will be spoken about as the days go by. At this stage, it’s unclear whether Lionel Messi will take part in the weekend’s game and in what capacity.

Tata Martino has a number of injuries to contend with at the start of the season, as Sergio Busquets continues to deal with the after effects of a preseason ankle injury, and new signing Nicolas Freire struggles through a knee problem stemming from before his recent arrival at the club. Benja Cremaschi 

Inter Miami full MLS fixture list for 2024 season

Inter Miami will kick off the 2024 MLS season against Real Salt Lake on February 21, 2024. Their regular-season campaign will conclude on Decision Day on October 19, when they face New England Revolution.

Date Opponent Location Result
Weds, Feb. 21 Real Salt Lake Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) W 2-0
Sun, Feb. 25 LA Galaxy Dignity Health Sports Park (Carson, CA)  
Sat, March 2 Orlando City Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sun, March 10 Montreal Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, March 16 D.C. United Audi Field (Washington, DC)  
Sat, March 23 NY Red Bulls Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ)  
Sat, March 30 NYCFC Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, April 6 Colorado Rapids Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, April 13 Sporting KC Children’s Mercy Park (Kansas City, KS)  
Sat, April 20 Nashville SC Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, April 27 New England Revolution Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA)  
Sat, May 4 NY Red Bulls Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, May 11 Montreal Stade Saputo (Montreal, Canada)  
Wed, May 15 Orlando City Exploria Stadium (Orlando, FL)  
Sat, May 18 D.C. United Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, May 25 Vancouver Whitecaps BC Place (Vancouver, Canada)  
Wed, May 29 Atlanta United Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, June 1 St. Louis City Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, June 15 Philadelphia Union Subaru Park (Chester, PA)  
Wed, June 19 Columbus Crew Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, June 29 Nashville SC GEODIS Park (Nashville, TN)  
Wed, July 3 Charlotte FC Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)  
Sat, July 6 FC Cincinnati TQL Stadium (Cincinnati, OH)  
Wed, July 17 Toronto Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, July 20 Chicago Fire Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, Aug. 24 FC Cincinnati Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Sat, Aug. 31 Chicago Fire Soldier Field (Chicago, IL)  
Sat, Sep. 14 Philadelphia Union Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Wed, Sep. 18 Atlanta United Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA)  
Sat, Sep. 21 NYCFC Yankee Stadium (New York City, NY)  
Sat, Sep. 28 Charlotte FC Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  
Wed, Oct. 2 Columbus Crew Lower.com Field (Columbus, OH)  
Sat, Oct. 5 Toronto BMO Field (Toronto, Canada)  
Sat, Oct. 19 New England Revolution Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)  

Inter Miami schedule for Leagues Cup

The 2024 Leagues Cup is scheduled to begin on July 26, running for a month while the MLS season pauses play.

The final will take place on August 25, after which MLS league play will resume. Inter Miami were drawn against two Mexican clubs in Tigres UNAL and Puebla for the group stage. The top two teams in each group qualify for the knockout stage, while the bottom side is eliminated.

The full schedule has not yet been released for the Leagues Cup.

Inter Miami schedule for CONCACAF Champions Cup

The 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup, North and Central America’s continental club competition, began on February 6, but Inter Miami secured a bye through to the Round of 16 via their qualification as Leagues Cup champions.

Thus, Inter Miami’s first CCC match will be March 7 against either Moca of the Dominican Republic or fellow MLS side Nashville SC, whoever advances through the first round.

Round Date Opponent Location
Round of 16 — 1st Leg Thu, Mar. 7 Moca/Nashville SC TBD
Round of 16 — 2nd Leg Wed, Mar. 13 Moca/Nashville SC Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Quarterfinals — 1st Leg Apr. 2-4 TBD (if qualified) TBD
Quarterfinals — 2nd Leg Apr. 9-11 TBD (if qualified) TBD
Semifinals — 1st Leg Apr. 23-25 TBD (if qualified) TBD
Semifinals — 2nd Leg Apr. 30-May 2 TBD (if qualified) TBD
Final June 2, 2024 TBD (if qualified) TBD

How did Inter Miami play in preseason?

Inter Miami preseason fixtures and results

Inter Miami’s preseason began with matches against the El Salvador national team and FC Dallas before embarking on a tour of Asia in February.

They began with a game against the top players from the Hong Kong First Division at Hong Kong Stadium, where approximately 40,000 fans attended. Despite the absence of Messi and Suarez due to injury, Martino apologised to disappointed fans, emphasising the medical risks involved.

The tour continued on to Tokyo, where Inter faced J1 League champions Vissel Kobe at the Japan National Stadium, featuring a special guest appearance by Andres Iniesta.

Following the Asia trip, Inter Miami returned home to host Newell’s Old Boys, Messi’s boyhood club, in a friendly at Chase Stadium in Miami. That concluded the club’s preseason tour, readying them for the 2024 regular season.

Date Match Location
Fri, Nov. 10, 2024 Inter Miami 1-2 New York City FC DRV PNK Stadium
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA)
Fri, Jan. 19, 2024 Inter Miami 0-0 El Salvador Estadio Cuscatlan
(San Salvador, El Salvador)
Mon, Jan. 22, 2024 Inter Miami 0-1 FC Dallas Cotton Bowl
(Dallas, TX)
Mon, Jan. 29, 2024 Al Hilal 4-3 Inter Miami Kingdom Arena
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Thu, Feb. 1, 2024 Al Nassr 6-0 Inter Miami Kingdom Arena
(Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Sun, Feb. 4, 2024 Hong Kong All Stars 1-4 Inter Miami Hong Kong Stadium
(Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)
Wed, Feb. 7, 2024 Vissel Kobe 0-0 Inter Miami Japan National Stadium
(Tokyo, Japan)
Thu, Feb. 15, 2024 Inter Miami 1-1 Newell’s Old Boys DRV PNK Stadium
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA)

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