Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United live score, result, updates, stats from Lionel Messi in MLS match

After a successful west coast road trip in the absence of its Barcelona backbone Inter Miami return home to take on Atlanta United hoping to bolster their Eastern Conference title chances on Wednesday.

Tata Martino controversially left Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Sergio Busquets home for the late-night Saturday haul to Vancouver, but it leaves them rested and ready to return here for a chance to pick up three points in front of the home supporters. Messi’s 10 goals are three behind league leader Cristian Arango, while his Suarez is joint-second with 11. Messi also has 12 assists to lead the league in the creative department, despite having missed a good amount of games for rest or injury.

Inter Miami sit atop the Eastern Conference by a point, although they’ve played one more game than second-place FC Cincinnati.  However, Messi has been held without a goal contribution in each of his last two starts, the first time in his Inter Miami career that has been the case.

The Sporting News is following the Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United match live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.

Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United live score

  Score Goal scorers
Vancouver
Inter Miami

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT
Location: Chase Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Referee: TBD

Starting lineups (predicted):

Inter Miami (4-3-3, right to left): Callender (GK) — Weigandt, Aviles, Kryvtsov, Alba — Gressel, Busquets, Cremaschi — Messi, Suarez, Rojas.

Atlanta United (4-2-3-1, right to left): Cohen (GK) — Lennon, Abram, Gregersen, R. Hernandez — Slisz, Muyumba — Lobzhanidze, Almada, Wiley — Rios.

Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United live updates, highlights, commentary

2 hours to kickoff: Tata Martino’s handling of Lionel Messi has often been cavalier, leading to injuries for the 36-year-old, but recently he’s taken a much more pragmatic approach. The club has been cagey about his availability for each game, since his presence on the pitch — or absence thereof — forces teams to completely change the way they approach Inter Miami off the ball.

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Over the weekend, Inter Miami were so muted about Messi’s presence in the squad that it forced Vancouver to issue a club statement confirming that he, Suarez, and Busquets did not make the trip. A club confirming an opposition player would not be participating in a match is certainly a new one!

Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United pre-match stats, facts, figures

  • Lionel Messi has gone two straight starts without a goal contribution for the first time in his Inter Miami career. Still, the Herons have lost only one MLS league game when Messi starts, coming back in the final game of the 2023 regular season against Charlotte FC, a competitively meaningless game for Inter Miami.
  • Having conceded 20 goals through 15 matches this season, Inter Miami are on pace to concede 45 goals across the full 34 game season. That would nine fewer than they conceded in 2023, when they allowed the second-most goals in the Eastern Conference. It would also, however, be more than all but two of the top four teams in each conference allowed across 2023.
  • Georgios Giakoumakis is a menace when on the pitch; his five goals in 688 minutes this season give him a goal every 137.6 minutes, and he has a goal contribution every 86 minutes. Last season, Giakoumakis bagged a goal every 105.4 minutes in MLS regular season play. The problem is his availability — since joining Atlanta United, he has just eight full 90-minute showings in regular season play, having played just 53 percent of his team’s regular season minutes.
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Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United lineups, team news

While Inter Miami have largely moved past their injury crisis from earlier in the season, they suffered a big blow last time out as new defensive signing Nicolas Freire went down with an ACL tear in his right knee and will miss the remainder of the 2024 season. It’s a massive setback for the side to lose a player whose addition has seen the club improve greatly at the back this year. He becomes the second Inter Miami player to suffer an ACL tear this year after Facundo Farias went down in preseason.

That elevates aging Serhiy Kryvtsov back into a starting role, and Ian Fray has returned to the pitch from his third career ACL tear just in time. Fray’s return could push full-back Noah Allen back into a central position where he was trialed throughout preseason.

Federico Redondo could return from his knee injury for this match, and if not, Tata Martino “guarantees” the midfielder will be back for the following game against Atlanta United. Diego Gomez, however, will miss “a few more weeks” with his ankle injury, and was not at training yesterday.

Inter Miami projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Callender (GK) — Weigandt, Aviles, Kryvtsov, Alba — Gressel, Busquets, Cremaschi — Messi, Suarez, Rojas.

Inter Miami subs (9): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)

The two attacking stars for Atlanta United, Georgios Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada have both struggled with injuries of late. Giakoumakis suffered a concussion two weeks ago and has been missing since, while Almada is missing due to a calf injury.

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The club has been cagey about their availability, so that will be one to watch in the run-up to the match. Almada should be good to go having come off the bench over the weekend, but Giakoumakis is a doubt amidst reports of a possible exit this summer. Defender Noah Cobb will miss time due to an ankle injury as well.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan will be feeling the pressure after backup Josh Cohen kept a clean sheet against Charleston Battery in the U.S. Open Cup last week and then made a key save to win the penalty shootout. Cohen will get another chance here with Guzan suspended due to a straight red card last time out against LAFC.

Atlanta United projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Cohen (GK) — Lennon, Abram, Gregersen, R. Hernandez — Slisz, Muyumba — Lobzhanidze, Almada, Wiley — Rios.

Atlanta United subs (9): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)

How to watch Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United

This match can be accessed exclusively on MLS Season Pass from Apple TV. The game was not earmarked as one of the weekly free broadcasts, so it can only be viewed with a subscription.

The price of a season-long subscription to MLS Season Pass has been reduced to $69, a 30 percent discount on the original price of $99 to reflect the portion of the season already contested. For those already subscribed to Apple TV+, the price is now $59 for the season, a 25 percent discount from the original $79 price.

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