Since their elimination at the hands of Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions Cup on 11 April, Inter Miami have dusted themselves down and put together an impressive seven game unbeaten run which sees Tata Martino’s men hold firm their grip on top spot in the Eastern Conference despite Cincinnati keeping momentum in second place.

This weekend the Herons are set to face Vancouver Whitecaps for the first ever MLS meeting between both sides as the Canadian outfit celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Anticipation for the visit of Miami was sky-high in the Canadian city with over 50,000 match tickets sold before the news broke that neither Leo Messi, Luis Suárez or Sergio Busquets would make the trip to the north-east as the Argentine coach maintains faithful to his squad rotation policy.

The absence of the trio has provoked outrage among Whitecaps fans with many making the trip to the city just to see Messi in action with hotel and Air B’nB prices going through the roof in the Canadian city to deal with the influx of visitors.

The Whitecaps themselves issued a statement following the news as CEO Alex Schuster stated: “Unfortunately, we have no control over who plays for our opponent, and it was important for us to communicate to our fans as soon as possible”.

As a gesture of goodwill, the club have halved their prices on food and drink for Saturday’s game with Schuster adding: “We remain committed to making Saturday a special experience for everyone. It is still going to be an incredible atmosphere and celebration of soccer for our city. We have amazing fans, we have a good team, and the match is a very important home game for us.”

Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami MEGAN BRIGGSAFP

Is Lionel Messi injured for Vancouver Whitecaps game?

This is not the first time when Messi failing to travel has had a knock on effect as we saw when Inter Miami faced Chicago last season with more than 60,000 match tickets sold for Soldier Field before news broke that due to injury, the Argentine would not make the trip.

In that instance, the Fire offered generous discounts and credits on 2024 season tickets with many calling for MLS to endeavour to put preventative measures in place to avoid disappointed fans if Messi fails to play for the Herons.

Despite rumours circulating on X that the veteran striker is injured, Messi, Suárez and Busquets do not appear on the club’s injury list. It looks like the famous trio are simply being rested, unsurprising given the distance involved and the artificial playing surface at BC Place, a less forgiving surface than natural grass.

Martino has made his rotation policy involving his big name stars crystal clear in the past and it appears that the trip to face the Whitecaps just happens to be a game where he wants to rest key players with MLS and Leagues Cup games coming up think and fast as part of a hectic schedule.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here