Inter Miami CF’s frenzied late-season push to qualify for the MLS playoffs continues Saturday.
Atlanta United — which resides comfortably above the playoff line — hosts Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami in one of the weekend’s many games that could profoundly impact the league’s playoff picture.
But Messi will not participate in Saturday’s showdown with Atlanta United, according to ESPN and the Miami Herald. The 2022 World Cup winner and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner recently returned from an international window with Argentina for a pair of 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Messi scored the winning goal against Ecuador, but sat out Argentina’s match against Bolivia on Tuesday.
Inter Miami will play five games in a 15-day span, and one of those will be the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final. How Miami navigates this grueling string of matches likely will determine whether or not it makes the postseason field.
Inter Miami coach Tata Martino has said that Messi will “miss at least three games” this season. The soccer icon (as well as a few other notable teammates) missed Miami’s 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City Sept. 9.
MESSI IN MLS PLAYOFFS? What is the probability of Inter Miami making the MLS postseason?
What time does Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United game start?
The match starts at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
How to watch Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United
The Inter Miami-Atlanta United game can be streamed live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Will Lionel Messi play for Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United?
No. Messi did not travel with Inter Miami to Atlanta due to fatigue, according to The Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman, who cited a team source.
Inter Miami starting XI
- GK: Drake Callender
- DeAndre Yedlin
- Tomás Avilés
- Kamal Miller
- Noah Allen
- Sergio Busquets
- Dixon Arroyo
- Benjamin Cremaschi
- Robert Taylor
- Leonardo Campana
- Facundo Farías
Inter Miami vs. Atlanta United betting odds
- Moneyline: Atlanta United +115 (bet $100 to win $115) | Inter Miami +200 (bet $100 to win $190) | Draw +275
- Over/Under: 3.5 (O: +115 | U: -165)
Provided by BetMGM Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 7:10 a.m. ET.
What to know about Atlanta United
There’s history between Atlanta United and Inter Miami. Miami coach Tata Martino guided Atlanta United from its inaugural season in 2017 through its MLS Cup championship in 2018. Josef Martinez, who currently plays for Inter Miami, was Atlanta United’s record-setting goal-scorer during that amazing run from expansion to league champion.
After reaching the conference final in 2019, Atlanta United has missed the playoffs in two of the past three seasons. This season, however, Atlanta United is in good position to return to the postseason. Forward Giorgos Giakoumakis, who is in his first season with Atlanta, has 13 goals scored in league play and is in contention for the MLS Golden Boot. Midfielder Thiago Almada, Messi’s teammate on Argentina’s World Cup-winning team and the first active MLS player to win the World Cup, is the league’s assist leader.
Messi and Inter Miami have faced Atlanta United previously, too. During the group stage of the Leagues Cup, Miami routed Atlanta 4-0 as Messi scored two goals.
MLS Matchday 32 (Sept. 16-17) games
- New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls, 3:30 p.m. ET
- Atlanta United vs. Inter Miami, 5 p.m. ET
- Charlotte FC vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. ET
- CF Montréal vs. Chicago Fire FC, 7 p.m. ET
- Orlando City SC vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Philadelphia Union vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:30 p.m. ET
- FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders, 8:30 p.m. ET
- Houston Dynamo FC vs. St. Louis City SC, 8:30 p.m. ET
- Minnesota United vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. ET
- Colorado Rapids vs. New England Revolution, 9:30 p.m. ET
- Los Angeles FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 10:30 p.m. ET
- San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. ET
- Austin FC vs. Portland Timbers, 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
All games available on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
What is Inter Miami’s remaining 2023 schedule?
Like the rest of MLS, all of Inter Miami’s games are available to watch via the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV — except for the U.S. Open Cup final on Sept. 27, which will be available to stream on the CBS Sports Golazo Network. Keep in mind that should Messi lead Inter Miami to the MLS playoffs, some of those postseason games also could be broadcast on FOX.