Lionel Messi tracker: Every goal, highlight, and live update for Inter Miami CF in Major League Soccer 2023

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami are on the move, seeking to accomplish something most (everyone?) in Major League Soccer thought was unthinkable only six weeks ago:

qualify for the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs despite finishing last in the Eastern Conference when Messi joined.

Messi, though, did not play in Atlanta on Saturday, nor did Jordi Alba. Miami was defeated 5-2, with Leonardo Campana scoring both goals for the visitors.

According to multiple reports, including this one from the Miami Herald, Messi did not go to Atlanta due to weariness from Argentina's World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Bolivia in South America.

He scored a great free kick to win the first game, and although being present in Bolivia for the second qualifier, he did not play in the 3-0 triumph.

A crowd of over 72,000 was predicted in Atlanta for the game, with Messi's visit being a significant event.

Inter Miami's full focus is now on league play, where they have won three of four games (3W-1D-0L) since Messi's debut back in late July,

including a 3-2 win over Sporting KC last weekend without the 36-year-old World Cup winner (international duty).

The defeat to sixth-place Atlanta United drops Inter Miami to 14th position in the Eastern Conference standings with 28 points, denying them the opportunity to move up as much as three places.

With seven games remaining (and one or two games in hand on everyone else), they are presently seven points out of the final playoff slot, ninth place.

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