“If you can keep him…” – Houston Dynamo Defender Outlines Weakness In Inter Miami Ace Lionel Messi’s Game

Lionel Messi Looking Pensive For Inter Miami
Lionel Messi Looking Pensive For Inter Miami

Houston Dynamo defender Erik Sviatchenko has hailed Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi but believes there is a way for his team to stop the Argentine legend in Wednesday’s (September 27) U.S. Open Cup final. According to the Dynamo star, Messi’s impact can be decreased if he is forced to drop into midfield to collect the ball.

Messi’s Inter Miami and Sviatchenko’s Houston Dynamo will square off in the final of the U.S. Open Cup at the DRV PNK Stadium. A win in Florida will see Miami lift their second silverware of the season, having won their first-ever trophy, the Leagues Cup, in August.

Sviatchenko Explains Difficult Plan To Stop Inter Miami Superstar Lionel Messi

Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is not guaranteed to feature in the contest, but Sviatchenko has a plan to stop him if he does turn up for the hosts. When asked whether Messi had any weaknesses, the 31-year-old said (via GOAL):

If you can keep him away from goal for as long as the game goes on, because Messi sometimes in the role he has now, he also drifts away from goal to get the ball.”

The Ukranian then conceded that it is near-impossible to keep the former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star away from goal for the entire 90 minutes.

He added:

But of course, it won’t be possible for 90 minutes. He will pop up, he will pop up in spaces where he’ll get himself in dangerous spots, either to assist or to have a hit on goal.

It’s very difficult to see where the weaknesses are. You can lose the game, within a second. He can take advantage of the slightest kind of mistake or the slightest unawareness in the team.

What Is The Latest On Lionel Messi’s Injury?

Messi has not trained with Inter Miami since picking up a leg injury in the 4-0 win over Toronto FC on Wednesday (September 20). Despite the obvious red flag, coach Gerardo Martino has refrained from ruling the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner from the contest.

Speaking at a press conference he said (via Hindustan Times):

We will decide tomorrow based on how he’s feeling.

Messi has been Miami’s best player despite joining them just a couple of months prior. The Miami skipper has featured in 12 games for the club in all competitions, scoring 11 times and providing five assists.

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