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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Dallas 1-0 Inter Miami: Messi tries an Olimpico as Miami still scoreless after two friendlies

Inter Miami followed last week’s scoreless draw against El Salvador’s national team with a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas as their preseason world tour gets off to an unassuming start. Here are our takeaways from the match.

Messi still searching for an Olimpico

Dallas’ Jesus Ferriera scored within the first three minutes of play to put the home side up 1-0, but a short time later Lionel Messi nearly equalized in spectacular fashion directly from a corner kick. But Dallas’ Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Paes made an impressive save to prevent Messi from adding to his long list of highlights.

Although it seems like Messi has accomplished everything in the sport, he has never scored an Olimpico — and it’s not for lack of trying. He’s attempted to score them throughout his career, but it just hasn’t happened for him yet. And so the chase continues…

Questionable timing

The Messi and friends tour is a major draw no matter where in the world it stops, but the organizers of this match really put that fact to the test with this one. Playing in the 92,000-capacity Cotton Bowl, the match kicked off at 5 p.m. local time on a Monday in overcast, 40-degree weather. The cheapest lower level ticket was $175 plus fees and the cheapest upper level ticket was $50 plus fees — pretty steep for a friendly. The stadium looked downright empty at kickoff but filled up as the game went on, however it was nowhere near a capacity crowd.

Longer shifts for the big four

After playing the first half in El Salvador on Friday, Messi, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez played just over an hour against Dallas while Jordi Alba played the full 90 minutes. Suarez appeared to be limping a bit toward the end of his time on the pitch, though it’s debatable as to whether it was more than usual or not.

It took Ferreira just two minutes and 45 seconds to score the match’s only goal, but he left the match in the 40th minute after appearing to suffer an injury. Ferriera has scored 30 goals for Dallas over the last two seasons and was the USMNT’s top scorer in 2023 with eight goals in seven appearances.

Gressel off to a slow start

Julian Gressel is a two-time MLS Cup champion. He’s a proven player in this league, but in Miami, the 30-year-old is like a new kid at a new school. He was brought to Inter Miami by Tata Martino, his former manager with Atlanta United, so he’s already earned the trust of the coaching staff, but Messi is the alpha in the schoolyard. That’s who Gressel has to make a positive first impression with this preseason. After just 129 minutes of play, Gressel hasn’t had a moment to remember. His service from the right flank has been hurried in both matches. Against Dallas, Martino moved Gressel into central midfield alongside Busquets. Gressel’s positioning was intelligent and he stayed close to the former Barcelona holding midfielder. However, Gressel was inaccurate with his long balls and switches. It’s a small sample size, yes, but when your targets are Messi and Suarez, there’s simply no margin for error. Gressel should develop that chemistry in due time, but you know what they say about first impressions. —Felipe Cardenas

Where are the goals for Inter Miami?

Miami’s starters strung together some better passes against Dallas than they did against El Salvador, but the finishing still isn’t there. Both Messi and Suarez had their chances and the latter appeared particularly frustrated that he couldn’t capitalize on them as he exited the match. One positive of the club’s extended preseason tour is that they’ll have plenty of time to find their scoring boots, though.

Spare a thought for the match officials

It was a cold night in Dallas and the poor referees found no respite in their dressing room.

This comes on the same day that The Athletic reported that the Professional Soccer Referees Association has voted to authorize a potential strike amid negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement.

GO DEEPER

MLS referees authorize potential strike, file labor complaint

(Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)



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