Lionel Messi was substituted as Robert Taylor came off the bench to lift Inter Miami to a massive 4-0 victory over Toronto FC on Thursday. The victory moved Inter Miami closer to an MLS playoff spot.
Messi was withdrawn with what appeared to be a muscle problem, leading to Taylor’s arrival and subsequent performance which saw him score two goals and assist another.
Messi, having been rested twice in the last week, was thought to be fully fit for action, but seemed to be struggling past the half-hour mark and ultimately asked to be brought off.
Sportingnews reports that the massive blow came just minutes after fellow star Jordi Alba was also hauled off with an injury of his own, leading to questions about the workload which head coach Gerardo Martino has thrust upon Messi, Alba and Sergio Busquets early in his tenure with the club.
Mercifully for Miami, head coach Gerardo Martino confirmed after the match that Messi was suffering from “fatigue” and at least does not have a more serious muscle injury.
Nonetheless, any concerns will have to wait, as with three points secured, Inter Miami were bumped up to 13th in the Eastern Conference standings, just five points back of a playoff spot with six matches to go.