Lionel Messi WILL play in the US Open Cup final for Inter Miami, insists Houston Dynamo coach Ben Olsen, despite the star missing two games and practice with 'muscle fatigue'

  • Lionel Messi has sat out two straight game while dealing with ‘muscle fatigue’  
  • Miami manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino said Jordi Alba is unlikely to play on Wed.
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Houston Dynamo manager Ben Olsen has told reporters that he expects Lionel Messi to be on the field for Inter Miami during the upcoming US Open Cup final.

Messi has not played since he was subbed off in the 37th minute of Miami’s game against Toronto FC due to ‘muscle fatigue.’

Since then, he has sat out Miami’s next game which was a 1-1 draw against in-state rival Orlando City as well as missing an international game for Argentina.

Miami manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino did not reveal much on Tuesday about Messi’s chances of playing as he said the team will wait ‘until the last moment’ to decide if Messi will be available for the match. 

He did however state Messi will not start if he does feature in the contest and he his participation in practice has been under scrutiny. But Olsen isn’t getting too caught up in wondering whether the World Cup winner will be there.

Dynamo manager Ben Olsen said his team is preparing for Messi to play in the US Open Final

Dynamo manager Ben Olsen said his team is preparing for Messi to play in the US Open Final

Messi has sat out two straight games after dealing with 'muscle fatigue' against Toronto FC

Messi has sat out two straight games after dealing with ‘muscle fatigue’ against Toronto FC

Miami manager Gerardo 'Tata' Martino

Jordi Alba

Martino did not reveal much on Messi’s status for the game but said Jordi Alba is in doubt

‘We’re pretty sure he’ll play,’ Olsen said. ‘We’ll prepare for them in that way. They’ve got some options if that isn’t the case. But we’ll prepare for their best lineup unless we hear something more concrete.’ 

Major League Soccer does not require teams to submit injury reports in the same fashion as other sports leagues around the country, which gives coaches like Martino the chance to withhold any pertinent information he feels may help the Dynamo prepare for the game.

Martino did however say that fellow ex-La Liga star Jordi Alba was doubtful to play during the final, which at least gives Houston one less superstar to worry about having to plan for.

‘There’s been thousands of coaches that have tried to stop him and thousands of coaches have failed constantly, so I don’t have the magic bullet to stop Messi,’ Olsen said.

‘No one has proven that they do have that. But of course, we’re all trying to do the same thing: limit his space and condense the areas. There’s all these little tricks that you can do to try to limit him.

‘But they’ve also put together a very good supporting cast around him so now you dial in too much there and there’s a lot of other guys that can hurt you.’ 

That supporting cast features players like attackers Leonardo Campana and Jose Martínez as well as fellow ex-Barcelona star Sergio Busquets. 

Olsen and the Dynamo are hoping they can take the lessons they learned from playing against other great No. 10s around the MLS, like Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar and be able to shut down Messi and the rest of the Miami’s threats.

‘I hope we go after him in the same way we would go after all the other great 10s that we meet,’ Olsen said.

‘I’m not underselling him. He is who he is. He’s a remarkable player, but relishing in this opportunity that we have to play this team, with the individuals they have, is I think the right mentality that we should have.’