Football

Lionel Messi injured: Inter Miami vs Toronto FC score, result as Robert Taylor masterclass comes at high price

Robert Taylor came off the bench to lift Inter Miami to a massive 4-0 victory over Toronto FC that saw them move ever closer to an MLS playoff spot.

Unfortunately, Taylor’s introduction in the 37th minute was notable for another reason too, and it’s far less encouraging for Inter Miami’s bigger picture.

Lionel Messi was withdrawn with what appeared to be a muscle problem, leading to Taylor’s arrival and subsequent performance which saw him score two goals and assist another.

Messi, having been rested twice in the last week, was thought to be fully fit for action, but seemed to be struggling past the half-hour mark and ultimately asked to be brought off.

The massive blow came just minutes after fellow star Jordi Alba was also hauled off with an injury of his own, leading to questions about the workload which head coach Gerardo Martino has thrust upon Messi, Alba and Sergio Busquets early in his tenure with the club.

Nonetheless, those concerns will have to wait, as with three points secured, Inter Miami were bumped up to 13th in the Eastern Conference standings, just five points back of a playoff spot with six matches to go.

MORE: The latest updates on injuries to Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba after being subbed off

The Sporting News followed the Inter Miami vs Toronto FC match live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happened.

Inter Miami vs Toronto FC final score

  Score Goalscorers
Inter Miami 4 Farias (45+3′),
Taylor (54′, 87′),
Cremaschi (73′)
Toronto FC 0

Starting lineups:

Inter Miami (3-4-3, right to left): 1. Callender (GK) — 6. Aviles (Cremaschi, 65′), 27. Kryvtsov, 31. Miller— 2. Yedlin, 5. Busquets, 41. D. Ruiz (Arroyo, 65′), 18. Alba (Allen, 34′) — 10. Messi (R. Taylor, 37′), 17. J. Martinez (Campana, 65′), 11. Farias.

Toronto FC (4-3-3, right to left): 30. T. Romero (GK) — 19. Franklin, 17. Rosted, 4. Bradley, 28. Petretta (Antonoglu, 69′) — 8. V. Vazquez (Servania, 12′ — Ibarra, 26′), 52. Coello (Blessing, 69′), 21. Osorio — 10 .Bernardeschi, 29. Kerr (Sapong, 69′), 24. Insigne.

Inter Miami vs Toronto FC live updates, highlights, commentary

FULLTIME: Inter Miami 4-0 Toronto FC

Robert Taylor comes off the bench and lights DRV PNK Stadium on fire to secure a huge three points in the MLS playoff race, scoring two and assisting another as he leads the way in a big win.

Unfortunately for Inter Miami, Taylor’s introduction was critical for another reason as well, as he came on for an injured Lionel Messi. Inter Miami fans will now hold their breath as they wait for news regarding the severity of Messi’s issue, and for Jordi Alba as well who was also hauled off win an injury of his own.

Regardless, Inter Miami have moved up another spot in the Eastern Conference standings, up to 13th and now just five points back of a playoff spot with six games to go.

Inter Miami vs Toronto FC: Second Half

87th min: GOAL! INTER MIAMI! ROBERT TAYLOR, STOP IT! Facundo Farias wonderfully chips a ball over the Toronto FC defense to Taylor, who from a very tight angle lashes a stunner with the outside of his boot and into the back of the net.

Taylor has come on for an injured Lionel Messi and been unplayable!

83rd min: Chance, Toronto FC! Lorenzo Insigne nearly produces a golazo but he crashes his long-range effort off the post with Drake Callender at full stretch.

79th min: Chance, Inter Miami! The hosts are running riot now. Robert Taylor has been electric off the bench, having come on to replace Lionel Messi, and this time he sends Leo Campana into a good spot from a tight angle. The Ecuadorian, in good form, puts a shot on frame but Tomas Romero gets a slight touch on the ball and barely deflects it agonizingly wide in slow-rolling fashion.

73rd min: GOAL! INTER MIAMI! Benja Cremaschi puts the three points to bed, running onto a vertical ball from Robert Taylor and burying it from a tight angle. The 18-year-old was involved in USMNT camp this past international break, and will soon have to make a decision between representing the U.S. or Argentina.

69th min: A triple change for Toronto FC as Themi Antonoglou, Latif Blessing, and CJ Sapong enter the pitch. The changes are their first subs since the two injuries early in the match.

67th min: Robert Taylor wants a second, combining with DeAndre Yedlin who bombs down the right, but the Finnish international rifles his shot over the crossbar.

64th min: Tata Martino, already having made two substitutions for the injuries to Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba earlier, now will make a triple change as Leonardo Campana, Dixon Arroyo, and Benja Cremaschi will enter the match for Inter Miami.

It initially appeared that Sergio Busquets would be coming off, but instead David Ruiz is replaced along with Tomas Aviles and Josef Martinez.

54th min: GOAL! INTER MIAMI! Robert Taylor produces a stunner to double the Inter Miami lead! The man who entered the pitch for Lionel Messi appears to have been closed off on the top-left edge of the penalty area, but as he dribbles laterally and resets, he sees a small opening for himself and surprises everyone by shooting a low, driving effort that tucks into the side netting!

51st min: DeAndre Kerr has to exit the pitch for a moment to get touched up after the official notices some blood on his lip. It appears he was bloodied on an aerial duel with Tomas Aviles.

48th min: Chance, Toronto FC! Goodness gracious, it’s so sloppy from Inter Miami at the back, and they nearly gift Toronto a goal! Kamal Miller nonchalantly gives the ball to Serhiy Kryvtsov, and it’s picked off by Lorenzo Insigne inside the penalty area, but his shot is too central and easily smothered by Drake Callender.

47th min: Chance, Toronto FC! Federico Bernardeschi catches the Inter Miami defensive line too high, and has the ball in the back of the net on the counter, but the flag is up and nullifies the goal!

Kickoff: The second half is under way as Inter Miami must continue their search for three points despite the exit of Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba.

It’s unlikely we’ll get much information tonight, but Tata Martino did at least speak on the injury, saying that they’ll take it “as the days go by.”

HALFTIME: Inter Miami 1-0 Toronto FC

Inter Miami were the better side, good for their stoppage-time opener from Facundo Farias, but the big stories from this first half are the injuries to Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba, with Inter Miami mired in the thick of a playoff chase and also set to contest the U.S. Open Cup final in a week.

Toronto FC also lost a pair of players to injuries, and they had a few chances in that half as well, but couldn’t convert. If the second half is as open as the first, there are plenty of goals left in this game.

Elsewhere, the Chicago Fire are being pummeled in Columbus 3-0, and D.C. United are also losing, which are both key for Inter Miami. NYCFC leads Orlando City 1-0 at the half, and both Charlotte FC and the New York Red Bulls are level with their opponents.

Inter Miami vs Toronto FC: First Half

45+7 min: Josef Martinez is fed through on goal, but not only is his effort smothered by Tomas Romero who comes off his line, he’s also flagged for offside.

45+3 min: GOAL! INTER MIAMI! No Messi? No problem! It’s his fellow Argentine Facundo Farias who puts Inter Miami in front with what could prove an utterly critical goal!

A deep cross by Noah Allen forces Tomas Romero to punch the ball clear, and he whacks it right to Farias who crashes the ball into the net with authority.

45+1 min: Lionel Messi had been on the bench after exiting, but now heads down the tunnel. Nine minutes of stoppage time are shown.

42nd min: Four players have already been withdrawn from this match due to injury, and now there’s another stoppage as both Sergiy Kryvtsov and DeAndre Kerr are checked for concussions after a clash. They’re both able to continue, but Kryvtsov can only do so after changing his shirt which is covered in a big blood stain.

There’s gonna be a lot of first-half stoppage time upcoming.

37th min: WOW. Just minutes after Jordi Alba is substituted off, Lionel Messi is now replaced and appears to be limping as he exits. He hands the captain’s armband to DeAndre Yedlin, and then somewhat comically removes his shoes and shin guards while still on the pitch.

Robert Taylor enters, and Messi is off. DRV PNK Stadium is utterly deflated.

34th min: Chance, Toronto FC! A two-on-none break is thwarted by a bad feed! Jonathan Osorio uncharacteristically fails to find DeAndre Kerr who’s got an open goal in front of him.

Now it’s Inter Miami who are forced to make an early change, as Noah Allen comes into the match. He replaces Jordi Alba, which is a huge loss for Inter Miami. He’s been exceptional combining with his old Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi.

31st min: It’s now a total onslaught by Inter Miami, who are consistently coming very close to scoring. They’re forcing Toronto FC into countless mistakes, only thwarted by emergency defending. Jordi Alba forces a save from a tight angle.

23rd min: David Ruiz wins the ball back, and Jordi Alba delivers a perfect ball for Lionel Messi to the far post, but at full stretch, he can’t quite get his volleyed effort on target, putting it over the crossbar.

In the aftermath, Brandon Servania is down, and the replay shows he may have suffered a very ugly and very serious injury. His lower leg bent horribly under the challenge from David Ruiz, and he’s carried off the pitch without being able to put any weight on his left leg.

The sub will have to be subbed. Best wishes to Servania, who may have a long route back. Let’s hope it’s not as serious as it looked.

22nd min: Lionel Messi is beginning to really cook. He gets a feed from Jordi Alba at the top of the penalty area. He clowns two Toronto FC defenders, seeing his deft cutback cause one defender to tackle the other, but a third defender is one too many, and his shot is blocked by Raoul Petretta.

18th min: The crowd is electrified as Lionel Messi dribbles with intent through the heart of the Toronto FC, but he’s cut off well by the opponents and has to shoot from distance, with his effort straight into the arms of Toronto goalkeeper Tomas Romero.

14th min: Chance, Inter Miami! Josef Martinez comes up empty again! He drags his effort at the near post wide. He’s just not been in good form over the last few weeks.

13th min: Chance, Toronto FC! HOW HAS DEANDRE KERR NOT SCORED?! He has two huge chances on net, but the first is saved spectacularly by Drake Callender, and his follow-up comes off the inside of the post but stays out! He was inches from scoring the opener!

The chance came off a bad turnover by Sergio Busquets who got himself into trouble and failed to work his way out of the trap.

12th min: Toronto FC are forced into a change, as midfielder Victor Vazquez, only just reintroduced into the lineup, has to exit due to injury, with Brandon Servania entering in his place. He’s been carrying an injury, and it seems to have cropped up again.

10th min: Lorenzo Insigne has a shot but puts it well wide. He received the ball with his back to goal, but on the turn, he didn’t acquire the goal in his sights, and doesn’t have his body positioned right when having the hit.

4th min: Chance, Inter Miami! Josef Martinez misses a sitter! The Inter Miami striker is gifted a massive chance by a huge defensive error, as Toronto FC pass it right to him at the top of the penalty area, but under defensive pressure, he fires the chance miles high and wide!

It’s a horrible miss from the Venezuelan who should have put the hosts 1-0 up. His struggles continue, and Leonardo Campana will consider himself unlucky to not be the one up front tonight.

2nd min: The match has begun in a somewhat chaotic manner, and Kamal Miller is beat down the right flank on a through ball to Federico Bernardeschi, but he produces a world class tackle to dispossess the Italian at the last possible moment before he was through on goal.

Kickoff: This match from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is under way! Inter Miami need points in the playoff chase, while Toronto FC just want to get off the bottom of the table.

Inter Miami vs Toronto FC: Pre-match commentary, analysis, stats, and more

15 mins to kickoff: Lionel Messi is on the field and warming up with his Inter Miami team, and they’re enjoying the run-up to the match.

35 mins to kickoff: Tonight’s Canadian official Drew Fischer is not one of the most well-traveled referees in Major League Soccer this year. He has logged 12 matches this season, while the more regular officials are up near 17, 19, or even as many as 22 games officiated this year.

There’s a reason for that — Fischer splits his time between MLS and Canadian Premier League assignments. He has worked at the past two FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, including his assignment as part of the VAR crew for the 2023 semifinal between Australia and England this summer. He also served as part of the VAR crew for the MLS Cup Final last season.

Fischer is extremely lenient, averaging just 0.70 fouls per tackle and 3.67 yellow cards per match this season, both of which are down near the bottom of the list. He has yet to officiate a game with Lionel Messi on the field, last overseeing Inter Miami back in late February in their season-opening 2-0 win over CF Montreal.

50 mins to kickoff: Lineups are in, and Lionel Messi officially starts for Inter Miami.

Gerardo Martino has gone back to his three-at-the-back system. Interestingly, in-form Leonardo Campana has hit the bench, while struggling Josef Martinez gets the start. With every match so important, this kind of tinkering by Tata will be heavily scrutinized, especially if it doesn’t work out as intended.

Toronto FC makes just one change, bringing Victor Vazquez (a former La Masia teammate of Messi’s years back) into midfield to replace Franco Ibarra. Retired USMNT veteran Michael Bradley, wearing the captain’s armband,  continues his recent run at center-back.

1 hour to kickoff: With lineups set to be announced in short order, Inter Miami fans could be forgiven for sneaking a peek at outside results tonight. Inter Miami have plenty of work to do themselves, but it’s no secret that they also need help from those just above them.

Matches to keep an eye on tonight include all six clubs directly above them in the table: Montreal (8th) vs. FC Cincinnati, DC United (9th) vs. Atlanta United, Chicago Fire (10th) at Columbus Crew, Charlotte FC (11th) vs. Philadelphia Union, NYCFC (12th) vs. Orlando City,and New York Red Bulls (13th) vs. Austin FC.

Five of those clubs are at home, and all six kick off at 7:30 alongside Inter Miami. We’ll keep watch of these here along with coverage of Inter Miami tonight, so you don’t have to change the channel.

1 hour 15 mins to kick: Here’s a reminder of what Inter Miami need to reach the playoffs. With seven games left, Inter Miami sit 14th in the Eastern Conference, seven points back of the final playoff spot (9th).

When Lionel Messi joined, they were last (15th) in the table and 12 games back, so they’ve made up some ground, but defeat to Atlanta United last time out put them deeper in a hole. Points are at a premium now, and any results other than victories present problems. Inter Miami must secure as many of the 21 possible points remaining on their schedule as they can, and hope those above them slip enough to see them climb the ladder. It’ll be dicey the rest of the way.

At the other end of the table, there are six teams that can potentially clinch playoff berths with a particular set of results tonight.

MORE: A full overview of how Inter Miami can make the MLS playoffs, and how far back they sit

1 hour 30 mins to kick: With Lautaro Martinez turning in a clunker earlier today for Inter in the Champions League, Lionel Messi can re-take the lead amongst Argentines with the most goals for their club since the end of the 2022 World Cup.

He’ll have a great shot at doing just that, with more reports that Messi will start for Inter Miami tonight.

1 hour 45 mins to kick: Inter Miami’s acquisition of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba has, among many things, sparked a wider conversation around some archaic MLS roster rules that need reviewing, updating, or altogether eliminating.

One of those rules that could get an overhaul this summer is the discovery rights mechanic. It came up earlier today as Atlanta United were the subject of a grievance from Josh Cohen, whose discovery rights Atlanta own.

An MLS source told Sporting News today that discovery rights could get a major overhaul this offseason, either reduced or wiped out of the rules entirely.

2 hours to kickoff: Chatter about the fitness of 36-year-old Lionel Messi has been kept at a consistent murmur thus far in his Inter Miami tenure, but it was brought to the forefront as Messi was held out of the weekend’s defeat to Atlanta United, despite being rested by Argentina days prior in Bolivia.

Inter Miami coach Gerardo Martino denied that his absence had to do with the turf field, something which Messi himself denied weeks ago, but it’s a plausible explanation for the club holding him out.

Nevertheless, Messi is reportedly returning to the Inter Miami fold tonight, a boost for their teetering playoff chances.

Inter Miami vs Toronto FC lineups & team news

It was expected that Lionel Messi would return to Inter Miami action after being rested both on Argentina duty and again over the weekend against Atlanta United, but head coach Gerardo Martino would not commit to his superstar seeing the pitch, only going so far to state that both Messi and Jordi Alba would train on Tuesday and their status would then be determined.

Yet on matchday it was reported that Messi would start, and indeed he does as the lineup is confirmed.

Young midfielder Diego Gomez suffered a muscle injury on international duty with Paraguay and misses out. Otherwise, the only injuries for Inter Miami to deal with are the long-term absences of Ian FrayGregore, Corentin Jean, and Jean Mota

Inter Miami starting lineup (3-4-3): Callender (GK) — Aviles, Miller, Kryvtsov — Yedlin, Busquets, D. Ruiz, Alba — Messi, J. Martinez, Farias.

Inter Miami subs (9): Dos Santos (GK), Sailor, N. Allen, Arroyo, Cremaschi, R. Taylor, R. Robinson, Stefanelli, Campana.

Interim Toronto FC manager Terry Dunfield has tinkered with his lineup, looking to find the best combination of players to help elevate the Canadian side up off the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. The introduction of 20-year-old DeAndre Kerr up front has been bright, supported by Italian duo Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi on each wing.

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson is absent with a broken hand, while Christian Gutierrez misses out with a hip problem and Adama Diomande is sidelined with a muscle injury.

U.S. national team fans will be puzzled to see longtime American international Michael Bradley deployed at center-back, moved into the back line each of the last three games thanks to the struggles of Aime MabikaShane O’Neill, and Sigurd Rosted.

Toronto FC starting lineup (4-3-3): T. Romero (GK) — Franklin, Rosted, Bradley, Petretta — V. Vazquez, Coello, Osorio — Bernardeschi, Kerr, Insigne.

Toronto FC subs (9): Gavran (GK), O’Neill, Mabika, Antonoglou, Blessing, Marshall-Rutty, Ibarra, Servania, C. Sapong.

How to watch Inter Miami vs Toronto FC

Inter Miami vs Toronto FC betting odds & lines

Despite the heavy defeat last time out, the betting market does not seem deterred from Inter Miami, and against the only team below them in the Eastern Conference standings, the hosts are considered significant favorites.

There’s also an expectation for goals as Inter Miami’s defensive struggles continue and Toronto FC also have issues at the back. Toronto have not kept a clean sheet since late May, a long run of poor defensive form.

  Inter Miami
win
Draw Toronto
win
Both teams
to score Y / N
Over / Under
3.5 goals
IMFC
-1.5
TFC
+1.5
BetMGM
(USA)
-275 +425 +650 -145 / +100 +110 / -155 -110 -130

In Canada, bet MLS at Sports Interaction: See the latest odds for Inter Miami vs. Toronto FC here

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