HUGE BLOW: Nightmare as soccer God incredibly fit and available to play vs. Atlanta – Miami’s Martino.

According to Inter Miami CF coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, Lionel Messi is fit and will be ready for selection in Saturday’s away game against Atlanta United FC.

Messi unexpectedly left Argentina’s World Cup qualifying victory over Ecuador last week before the game was done, and while he did travel to Bolivia on Wednesday, Lionel Scaloni did not include him in his 23-man team for the 3-0 triumph at La Paz’s high altitude.

He’s doing nicely. However, we won’t make a decision until after training today, according to Martino, regarding Messi’s role versus Atlanta. We will exercise caution around him since we have several crucial games coming up quickly.

Miami had a busy schedule before to the international break, and they have a short turnaround before their home game against Toronto FC on Wednesday. Messi will have two more World Cup qualifying matches in October, against Paraguay on October 12 and Peru on October 17.

Around that period, Miami would play twice against Charlotte FC: once at home on Wednesday, October 18, and once in North Carolina on Saturday, October 21.

“This is something that we knew would happen at some point, but that he would begin to get used to our needs, especially for seasons like this with a lot of matches,” stated Martino in reference to the possibility of resting Messi more as a result of his schedule.

“Playing each match, 90 minutes each game, two to three days with travel in between, would get difficult.”

The 36-year-old indicated in his sole news conference last month that he played on grass as a child and wouldn’t have an issue doing it again. Messi trained with the team on both Thursday and Friday. Atlanta plays on turf.

He claimed back in August that “the truth is my youth was spent on artificial turf, my whole life was on that pitch.” “I haven’t played on artificial turf in a while, but I have no trouble adjusting myself again.”

This week, there has been a lot of discussion about turf after Aaron Rodgers, a potential Hall of Fame NFL quarterback, tore his Achilles tendon in his first game with the New York Jets.

The only remaining turf-playing MLS team on Inter Miami’s road schedule is Atlanta. The other is Charlotte, where Miami won’t play until the final contest of the regular season, when it may already have secured a playoff spot.

Miami might have to travel to one of the other two Eastern Conference teams with turf, FC Cincinnati or New England Revolution, if they do make the playoffs. Right now, both teams are located in the first two positions in the standings.

Miami would be only three points out of the playoffs with a victory on Saturday, moving them up to 11th place in the Eastern Conference with some support from other teams.

Atlanta had already been defeated by Miami twice this season: 2-1 in May, before Messi arrived, and 4-0 in the League Cup in July, when Messi made his debut and contributed two goals and an assist.

Martino, who led the squad for three seasons and guided them to an MLS Cup victory in 2018, will be returning to the 404 for the first time on Saturday. After that victory, he left to become the head coach of Mexico’s national team.

Up to 70,000 spectators may swarm the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday to see Messi play. Even if Messi doesn’t start the game, the cheapest nosebleed seats on secondary ticket websites are going for $130.

Atlanta is currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, but they have won just twice in their last eight games overall and have given up 43 goals this year, which is the second-highest total in the league after Portland.

Thiago Almada, a 22-year-old Argentine midfielder who has been compared to Messi because of his height (5-foot-7), technical skill, and leadership skills, is the team’s captain. With 11 assists, he presently holds the league lead. Messi and he traded jerseys following their Leagues Cup match in July.

Before the summer transfer deadline, Atlanta was having trouble, but they gained some important speed on the wings in Xande Silva and Saba Lobjanidze, who have stepped up significantly since their addition, combining for a goal and three assists in Atlanta’s last four games.

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