Atlanta United Ends Inter Miami’s 12 Game Unbeaten Streak

Atlanta United Inter Miami

Mercedez-Benz Stadium- Atlanta United ended Inter Miami‘s 12-game unbeaten streak with a 5-2 thumping Saturday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 71,635. United completely dominated the match against a Miami team that was missing Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba, neither traveled with the team due to “muscular fatigue,” according to Coach Tata Martino.

No Messi

The absences of Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba forced Martino to make adjustments in the Starting XI. Noah Allen started at left-back with fellow teenager Benjamin Cremaschi slotted in the midfield alongside Sergio Busquets and Dixon Arroyo.

Atlanta looked like the better team early on in the match but Inter Miami got on the scoreboard first. Dixon Arroyo ripped a shot that clanged off the United crossbar towards Leo Campana, who chested the ball and tapped it over a defender and then just unloaded the ball into the Atlanta net. A spectacular Golazo in the 25th minute, 1-0 Miami.

The lead was brief as Tristan Muyumba notched a controversial header for the tie in the 36th minute. Replays cast doubt if the ball ever completely crossed the goal line, but the goal was confirmed.

Miami almost immediately scored an unfortunate own goal by Kamal Miller to give Atlanta the 2-1 lead.

Atlanta did not let up and scored a third goal via Brooks Lennon just 3 minutes later for the 3-1 lead. Miami looked to be in shambles, while Atlanta seemed to be catching its groove. Down 3-1 in the half, Inter Miami was in trouble.

ATL Pours It On

Leo Campana converted a penalty kick in the 53rd minute to shorten the Atlanta lead to 3-2, it would be as close as Miami would get.

Giorgos Giakoumakis scored the fourth goal for Atlanta in the 76th minute extending Atlanta’s lead to 4-2. Giakoumakis tied for the league lead in goals scored on the play.

United was not done on the night, scoring a fifth goal to seal the 5-2 victory. The fans who were disappointed because Messi did not play, surely were ecstatic with the statement-making win.

Postgame

Tata Martino made it abundantly clear that Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba did not play in the match versus Atlanta United because of “muscular fatigue”, and not because of the artificial turf in the stadium. It appears Martino was resting two of his most impactful players for the US Open Cup Finals on September 27 versus Houston Dynamo.

Much has been said about Lionel Messi not playing on turf in the MLS, but both he and the coach have stated that he would play. The “muscle fatigue” has to be bad enough for him to miss important matches back-to-back. It also seems unlikely Lionel would not suit up for at least 20 minutes to give fans what they came to see.

Final Thoughts

It had to happen someday, Inter Miami would lose a match. The problem is the way they lost, looking vulnerable defensively and extremely Messi-dependent.

Miami’s center-backs were exposed for their lack of speed when placed into one-on-one situations with Atlanta’s speedy wingers. Tomas Aviles and Kamal Miller had nightmare games against United. Both players need to bounce back.

No Messi, and no creativity on the pitch for Miami. Players such as Farias, Stefanelli, and Cremaschi need to step up and try to come close to producing meaningful scoring opportunities for teammates.

Miami is focused on the US Open Cup, a victory would make this season an enormous success. The MLS Playoffs are technically still within possibility but don’t look good if Messi is not on the pitch. The following seven games will all be a nail-biter for Inter Miami CF fans.

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