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Lionel Messi’s MLS debut postponed amid Miami Leagues Cup run

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Lionel Messi will have to wait a few days longer to make his official debut in Major League Soccer.

It was announced Wednesday that Inter Miami’s Aug. 20 home matchup against Charlotte FC, long expected to see Messi’s first action in MLS, has been postponed to a later date.

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A postponement was required due to both teams’ progress in the Leagues Cup, where Miami will host Charlotte in the quarterfinals on Friday.

“Major League Soccer (MLS) announced today that Inter Miami CF’s MLS match against Charlotte FC originally scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 20 at DRV PNK Stadium has been postponed to a later date to be announced,” read a statement from Miami.

“As both Inter Miami CF and Charlotte FC have advanced to the 2023 Leagues Cup quarterfinals, one of the two clubs will be playing on Aug. 19 in either the Leagues Cup final or third place match.

“Tickets originally purchased for the Aug. 20 MLS match will be honored for the new date in which the game will be played. For ticketing questions, contact tickets@intermiamicf.com.”

Messi’s first taste of MLS action now looks set to come in an Aug. 26 matchup at the New York Red Bulls. Before that, Miami is scheduled to travel to FC Cincinnati on Aug. 23 for a U.S. Open Cup semifinal.

Miami, and its new No. 10, have been enjoying a dream run in the Leagues Cup, which for the first time this year included every team from MLS and Liga MX.

Messi has scored seven goals in just four appearances in the competition following his arrival on a free transfer, helping Miami reach the last eight.

The pressure will be on when Messi does make his MLS bow, with Miami languishing at the foot of the Eastern Conference and with just 12 games remaining to turn things around and secure a playoff place.

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