Inter Miami steps up their pre-season with the first of a series of friendlies in 2024. Lionel Messi and co. take on El Salvador tonight at the Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador – the first time in history that the Herons have faced the national team.
It will be the first of seven warm-up games as part of the team’s preparation for the new MLS season, which begins in just over a month, in which they hope to at least make it to the playoffs.
Tonight’s game could also be an opportunity for Luis Suárez to make his debut. The 36-year-old is expected to line up alongside his old sparring partner Lionel Messi. The pair played a total of 258 matches at Barça, scoring a total of 99 goals – 56 of which were scored by the Argentine thanks to an assist from Suárez (Messi set El Pistolero up for another 43…). They last appeared on the pitch together in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in August 2020 – a night they would both rather forget as Barça suffered a humiliating 2-8 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Suárez is not the only one who could make his debut against El Salvador. German midfielder Julian Gressel joined the Columbus Crew on a free transfer at the start of the new year and was included in Tata Martino’s 20-man squad that traveled to San Salvador for the match.
Will Messi and Luis Suárez play?
Martino is expected to give everyone who made the trip some playing time. With just three forwards in the traveling squad (Leonardo Campana, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez), it will be interesting to see how they build their team from kick-off. At Barcelona, Messi played on the right with Suárez in the middle – it looks like the pair will play a similar role when they reunite in Miami.
The Argentine coach could stick to his usual 4-3-3 formation and play all three from the start, deploy either Facundo Farias or Robert Taylor on the left or use a completely different system, although that doesn’t seem very likely. From what we have seen in training, we will most likely see Messi and Luis Suárez link up either from the start or sometime during the match.