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Believe it or not, Lionel Messi is occasionally a mere mortal after all.
For the first time since joining Inter Miami, the superstar was held without a goal or assist in the club’s scoreless draw against Nashville SC. It was also the first time in nine matches since Messi joined Miami that the club didn’t come away with a victory.
Not that Messi didn’t have moments of absolute brilliance, of course, with some visionary passes and a last-gasp shot that was saved after he shook several Nashville defenders.
He’s also a major draw, with some sporting legends in attendance to watch him (and photograph him, at that):
Wednesday’s result will feel like a lost opportunity for Miami, however, which dominated possession (69.1 percent), put up more shots (13-7, 4-2 on target) and held the advantage in corners (4-3).
Messi and Inter Miami need to be nearly perfect down the stretch run of the MLS season if they are to have any hope of securing a playoff berth. The club sits on 22 points, the second-worst mark in the Eastern Conference, and has to make up 10 points in 10 matches to get past Chicago Fire FC for the final playoff berth.
Miami will have two matches in hand, which could prove crucial. And they’ll have Messi, arguably the greatest player to ever live, aiding them in their cause.
But for the second straight time, Miami couldn’t beat Nashville FC in regulation, famously needing free kicks to beat Nashville in the Leagues Cup final.
Messi has taken Inter Miami to brand new heights. On Wednesday, however, Nashville kept him and his teammates grounded.