Inter Miami 2-0 Toronto FC – MLS LIVE: Both Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba forced OUT with injury in first half but goals from Facundo Farias and Robert Taylor put Miami on course for victory

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Follow Mail Sport’s live blog for the latest scores, team news and updates as Inter Miami and Lionel Messi make their return to MLS action, taking on Toronto FC at DRV-PNK Stadium.

GOALLL: Miami 2-0: Robert Taylor gets on the scoresheet with a stunning strike!

Miami’s No. 16 picks up a pass from Noah Allen before cutting in from the left and running across the box with Toronto’s defense asleep prior to burying a laser into the lower left side of the net.

Fantastic piece of individual skill from the Finn! Surely, Miami’s done enough to collect all three points this evening.

Tomas Aviles’ shot goes wide!

Miami win their first corner of the second half and the ball is played into the far post before it is headed into the path of Aviles, who tries to curl one from distance but it never looked as if it would trouble Romero.

Miami’s looking a little rattled since the start of the second half…

The Herons are seeing more of the ball as the second half goes on but it was a cagey affair at first, as Toronto’s growing more and more into this game. The Canadians have nothing to play for as they know they lie in last place of the Eastern Conference.


Another layoff for Miami!!! Bernadeschi slid the ball into the back of the next after going solo on a counterattack, taking out two or three Miami defenders in the process. What a goal that would’ve been…

The Italian has seemed lively tonight, particularly in his link-up play with Insigne.

No updates on Messi’s injury as the second half gets underway

And we’re off for 45 more minutes of action! Can Miami preserve the lead? They need to walk off the pitch with all three points tonight in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.

FYI: US men’s national team right-back Deandre Yedlin will captain Miami for the remainder of the night

With Messi being substituted, it looks like the former Newcastle man has taken the captain’s armband from the Argentine.

Sep 20, 2023; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA; Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) places the captains armband on defender DeAndre Yedlin (2) during the first half at DRV PNK Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Reports of Inter Miami fans already leaving the stadium!

That’s right, folks…a few Inter Miami fans are leaving DRV Pink Stadium following Messi’s injury just a few minutes before halftime, despite their team leading after the break!

Another fan suggested that Messi held Miami back as his teammates managed to score just minutes after he left the pitch.

Social media really is something else…

HALFTIME: Miami 1-0: Messi leaves the pitch in the 38′ before storming down the tunnel visibly frustrated

The Herons go into the break with the need for readjustment after losing two key players, Messi and Alba, but have done just enough to be in the lead following a few chances from Martinez, Messi, and Farias.

Will Toronto heavily rely on Bernadeschi and Insigne to claw back into tonight’s match in the second?

Only time will tell….so stay tuned for more of our coverage after the break!

Inter Miami’s just holding possession now

The Herons seem to be managing the game well before halftime and Farias, in particular, tried a filthy piece of skill by taking two Toronto players out in midfield. Hopefully, we’ll have a clip for you later showing that.

GOALLLL! 1-0 MIAMI: Facundo Farias!

Finally! A breakthrough!! Noah Allen gets a cross into the box that’s parried away by Toronto’s goalkeeper – Tomas Romero – but the ball lands in Farias’ path. The midfielder hits it first time into the open net!! What a strike!!

The goal has certainly lifted the mood at DRV PNK Stadium.

Messi is seen heading down the tunnel!

Miami’s No. 10 seems frustrated with his exit and could be asked to do some tests while his teammates play the second half as the Herons’ medical staff will want to know what’s wrong with their star player as soon as possible!

Nine minutes to be added on…

There have been so many delays in this game that it’s not hard to understand the lengthy amount of time added before the break.

Game action is underway again…

There was a bit of a water break ever since Messi left the pitch in the 38th minute. Both teams are being observed taking in instructions from their respective coaches.

Messi sits next to Jordi Alba but is NOT seeking treatment

That’s according to tonight’s sideline reporter on Apple TV, who also revealed that Messi is sitting next to his longtime pal, Jordi Alba, who is holding an icebag to his leg. Nothing seems to be too concerning about Messi’s injury for now. We’ll keep you updated with any progress on the matter.

SUBSTITUTION: Messi OFF for Robert Taylor

The one player who has increased his form over the last couple of months has come on for Messi, who gets a standing ovation from the crowd.

The superstar seems frustrated to be exiting tonight’s game with an injury after standing still on the pitch over the last few minutes, holding his calf.

There’s been a lot of substitutions due to injury this half as both teams have been forced to make two changes already…

SUBSTITUTION: Jordi Alba is replaced by Noah Allen

It looks like the ex-Barcelona full-back has left the pitch due to injury…

Chance on the break for Toronto!

So uncharacteristic of Jonathan Rosario, who starts the play before getting in behind Miami’s defense and laying a pass across Miami’s goal for a teammate to tap it in. No one was there, however! Incredible! Many let-downs in this game so far…

Toronto can’t get out of its own half…

Miami’s high press is working effectively as Toronto forward Lorenzo Insigne is looking quite isolated up front…both of the Herons’ fullbacks, Jordi Alba and DeAndre Yedlin, have only been involved in tonight’s game offensively, so far.

Toronto’s substitute leaves injured…

It looks like Franco Ibarra will come on for Brandon Servania, who only lasted a quarter of an hour after replacing Victor Vasquez.

A third chance in a row for Messi!!!

Midfielder David Ruiz wins the ball back for Miami before passing it and a delicious cross lands in Messi’s path at the far post. The former Barca man steers his volley just too high above the goal.

Toronto’s defense has been all over the place in the last five minutes of this game!

Another Messi chance!

This time the Argentine’s shot is blocked after he gets past three Toronto FC defenders inside the box. The move started with Messi’s back against the goal before he cuts inside and lets his feet do the talking, as usual.

Messi chance!

The 36-year-old collects the ball and runs into space before managing to get a shot off, which is comfortably saved by Romero. Still 0-0 after 18 minutes played, but plenty of action so far!

Martinez’s shot just goes just wide!

Alba plays a high ball into Martinez’s path who fends off a defender before pulling a shot wide of Tomas Romero’s goal!

Toronto hits the post!!!

So unlucky from Deandre Kerr! He gets in behind Miami’s defense and is one-on-one against Drake Callendar, who saves a low strike to his left before Kerr hits the rebound off the post.

What a let down for Miami!!

SUBSTITUTION: Victor Vasquez comes off for Brandon Servania

There’s been a switch in midfield for Toronto as Messi’s former Barcelona teammate – Vasquez – is being replaced due to injury. He almost gifted Miami the lead when Martinez’s shot went well over the bar in the opening 10 minutes

Miami with the best chance of the match so far

Messi and Co. will keep on pushing for the floodgates to open but Toronto’s defense has been able to play out of Miami’s high press so far this evening.

Toronto’s star player: Italian international and former Juventus winger Federico Benardeschi

The 29-year-old has scored 13 goals and has registered 7 assists in 38 matches since moving to Canada last year. His contributions aren’t merely positive for a team that sits last in the Eastern Conference with 23 points from 29 matches played.

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 30 :  Federico Bernardeschi (10) of Toronto FC in action during MLS League match between Toronto FC and Philadelphia Union at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada on July 30, 2023. (Photo by Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Chance! Josef Martinez

The man who’s normally clinical inside the area couldn’t hit the target. ‘

Toronto midfielder Victor Vazquez, who used to play with Messi at Barcelona, loses the ball a little ahead of his goalkeeper’s box and Jose Martinez is the first player to react before blazing his shot well over the bar.

Kick-off! Miami is underway!!

The Herons are playing in their typical all-pink kit and are already applying pressure high-up the pitch in a nervy start for Toronto.

Miami’s playoff hopes took a severe hit after last weekend’s loss to Atlanta

An eight-minute first-half collapse saw Miami fall from 1-0 up to 3-1 down, and their unlikely playoff push take an almighty hit in the process…it was Thiago Almeda who caught the eye in Messi’s absence.

Moments away from kick-off now…

Tonight’s game was supposed to start at 7.30 E.T. but it appears that there will be a slight delay by just a couple of minutes.

Pics from tonight’s buildup at DRV PNK Stadium

Messi stayed back to watch his son train before Miami got thrashed by Atlanta last week

The Argentine, who has scored 11 goals in as many games for Miami over the past two months, slipped into dad support by observing Inter Miami’s Under-12 team play last month

Seven games left in Miami’s Path to the Playoffs

The Herons will want to collect as many points as they can from here on in. They are seven points adrift from ninth place D.C. United who are in the team in the final series playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference.

Messi moved to Miami because he ‘couldn’t be the boss’ at PSG, claims Thierry Henry

The France U-21 manager, who also happens to be the national team’s top scorer, says there was no structure for Messi while he was still playing for the Ligue 1 champions. Read more:

Toronto’s Starting XI

Soccer fans might recognize a household name or two in the Canadians’ lineup tonight: Federico Bernadeschi and Lorenzo Insigne. Both joined the club last year, respectively from Juventus and Napoli

Messi included in Miami’s Starting XI tonight

The Herons are lining up the World Cup winner with Josef Martinez in attack as it seems that Messi will be playing as some sort of secondary striker. Miami’s captain will have two of his closest pals at the club, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, lining up in midfield and at left-back.

Hello and welcome to tonight’s MLS match in Miami!

The Herons will be looking to bounce back after their heavy, 5-2 loss to Atlanta United last Saturday, while Toronto will look to recover from a 2-1 loss to Canadian rivals, Vancouver.

Messi is also set to feature for Miami for the first time since the international break! The 36-year-old was rested for Argentina’s latest game – a 3-0 win against Bolivia – and Miami’s Tata Martino was reluctant to get him involved against Atlanta after getting back to the U.S. from his homeland only shortly beforehand.

How will the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner fare this evening? Will he keep Miami’s slim hopes of reaching the playoffs alive? Let’s find out…

Inter Miami's Argentine forward #10 Lionel Messi (R) arrives for the Major League Soccer (MLS) football match between Inter Miami CF and Toronto FC at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on September 20, 2023. (Photo by Chris Arjoon / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS ARJOON/AFP via Getty Images)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF trains during an Inter Miami CF Training Session at Florida Blue Training Center on September 19, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

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