Without Lionel Messi, Inter Miami loses 3-1 to Chicago Fire in the MLS in a key duel for the Playoffs

Chicago Fire player Xherdan Shaqiri controls the ball against Inter Miami's DeAndre Yedlin at Soldier Field (Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Fire player Xherdan Shaqiri controls the ball against Inter Miami’s DeAndre Yedlin at Soldier Field (Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)

Inter Miami loses 2-1 on its visit to Chicago Fire by date 36 of the MLSwhich entered the definition stage. Lionel Messi It is not part of the commitment Soldier Field and could return to the team coached by Gerardo Martino next Saturday, against Cincinnati.

The swiss Xherdan Shaqiri He opened the scoring 4 minutes into the second half by completing a counterattack that caught the Inter Miami defense poorly. However, the Florida team quickly reached the tie thanks to a penalty scored by the Venezuelan Josef Martinez. The admitted Maren Haile-Selassie, at 62, once again overtook Chicago Fire. The Swiss forward added three minutes later with another victory to make it 3-1.

The match started evenly, with arrivals distributed between both teams. The first arrival was Chicago Fire through the Argentine Gaston Gimenez, who finished over the crossbar with his left foot entering the area. At 11 minutes he had the first arrival Inter Miami with a weak shot of Robert Taylor which the archer controlled without problems Chris Brady.

In the first quarter of an hour, the locals had the most dangerous of the match. The swiss Shaquiri He launched a cross that entered the area and no one could connect. However, the ball was left to the German Fabian Herberswho was about to score if it weren’t for Benjamin Cremaschi, who got in the way and sent the ball into the corner. He answered at 17 Facundo Fariaswith a shot to place that passed very close to the left corner.

The Fire was close to opening the scoring at the end of the first stage. Shaquiri He almost scored an Olympic goal and the stick denied the Greek the goal Georgios Koutsias. Inter had a hard time putting together plays and felt the absence of Messi, but at least they were not at a disadvantage at half-time.

The Inter Miami team that faced Chicago Fire (@InterMiami)
The Inter Miami team that faced Chicago Fire (@InterMiami)

At the start of the complement the emotions came. Shaquiri took advantage of an error by Inter Miami’s defense and, on the counterattack, scored 1-0 thanks to an assist from Herbers. Las Garzas reacted quickly and had a penalty in the 53rd minute after a handball inside the area. Josef Martinez scored 1-1 and five minutes later, Farias wasted a heads up, just like Cremaschiwho finished just off the mark.

The Herons They must add (and if it is three points, the better) to get closer to qualifying for the Playoffs: they are four units away from D.C. Unitedthe last team with a playoff spot to qualify for the postseason.


Chicago Fire: Chris Brady; Jonatan Dean, Wyatt Omsberg, Rafael Czichos, Miguel Navarro; Ousmane Doumbia, Gastón Giménez, Fabian Herbers, Xherdan Shaquiri, Brian Gutiérrez and Georgios Koutsais. DT: Frank Koplas.

Inter Miami: Drake Callender; By Andre Yedlin, Sergey Krivstov, Kendall Miller and Noah Allen; Facundo Farías, Sergio Busquets, Dixon Arroyo, Benjamín Cremaschi; Josef Martínez and Robert Taylor. DT: Gerardo Martino.

Referee: Joseph Dickerson.

Stadium: Soldier Field, Chicago.

What about Lionel Messi?

Messi participated in Inter Miami’s training session on Tuesday, but Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino was cautious and did not provide any timelines on the hamstring injury in his right leg that is plaguing La Pulga. There was no official information from the pink team about whether the captain was part of the delegation that went to Chicago, although he does not appear in any image published by the franchise on social networks.

Even without Messi in the Soldier Field, the Chicago Fire hopes that spectators will attend. Aware that 61,000 fans bought tickets for the MLS game, many hoping to see the Argentine star on the field, the Chicago Fire launched a promotion for those who do attend, with or without Messi.

Spectators who attend the property will receive a bonus of $250 when purchasing new season tickets for the entire 2024 season. Those who for any reason cannot take advantage of this promotion to become new subscribers will obtain a bonus of $50.

The offer is aimed “at all single-game ticket buyers who attend our match against Inter Miami, regardless of which players may appear on the field,” the club reported in a statement.

The team acknowledged that many spectators will be attending a Fire game at Soldier Field for the first time. “And we are very excited to welcome them to the Fire family and give them an opportunity to become long-term fans by creating a wonderful, fan-focused environment,” the letter added.

The 36-year-old forward has missed four of Miami’s last five games, in addition to another with his National Team in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers – against Bolivia -. The only time Messi took the field in this period of time was on September 20 against Toronto, being substituted shortly before half-time due to muscle discomfort.

A defeat would not eliminate Miami from the fight for qualification, but it would significantly complicate its chances. After the duel in Chicago, Miami will have three more games in the MLS: they will host Cincinnati on Saturday, they will do the same against Charlotte on October 18 and they will close in Charlotte on October 21.

Messi has scored 11 goals in 12 games with Miami. The team has not lost when it has had the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner on the court — eight wins and four draws. They won their first title by winning the Leagues Cup and, without the Argentine star, they lost in the final of the US Open Cup.

Miami has one victory, two losses and two draws when it has not been able to field the 36-year-old forward. Chicago Fire defeated New York Red Bull 1-0 in their previous match and will be looking for another favorable result at home. In the last four games played, they lost twice and tied in two games. He has conceded nine goals and has scored three.

The last five times they met in the tournament they had every possible outcome. The local team accumulated three victories, while the visit added one. In one match they ended evenly. The last time they met in this competition was on March 25, also for MLS 2023, and Chicago Fire won 3 to 2.

With information from AP

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