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Inter Miami vs. Real Salt Lake: Confirmed Lineups, Predictions, Odds, Injuries, Head-to-Head Stats & How to Watch Lionel Messi Play in MLS 2024

Published 02/20/2024, 8:38 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami will kick off its highly anticipated 2024 MLS campaign against Real Salt Lake. The Herons will host Real Salt Lake at Florida’s Chase Stadium tomorrow at 20:00 ET / 17:00 PT in a first-time-ever meeting between the two sides. Fans could see the MLS debut of Luis Suarez, Messi’s teammate from his Barcelona days.

Both sides will be looking to clinch their first three points of the season. After finishing 14th in the Eastern Conference last year, Inter Miami will be keen to hit the ground running. Before the match, we preview some details including confirmed lineups, injury updates, and how to catch the action live. 

Inter Miami vs. Real Salt Lake: Preview

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All eyes are on Inter Miami this season. After failing to leave a mark in the previous season, Tata Martino’s side will be looking to go the extra mile. Their pre-season tour out to be a nightmare both on and off the field. The team won just a single match out of seven friendlies and after Messi couldn’t participate in the friendly against Hong Kong XI due to a hamstring injury, fans heavily booed the team’s owner David Beckham, and asked for a refund. Even the Hong Kong government asked for an explanation from the organizers.

Miami’s two pre-season friendlies ended in a draw and they suffered defeat in four including a drubbing against a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Al Nassr. Nevertheless, they will be looking to buckle up for the opener.

via Reuters

On the other hand, Real Salt Lake reached the 50-point mark last season, securing a playoff spot for the third consecutive year. They proved to be the top-performing team on the road in the Western Conference, with eight victories and four draws. Additionally, they have remained unbeaten in their opening MLS regular season fixture since 2009. They’ll be looking to spoil the night for the Floridians. 

The Herons vs. Claret and Cobalt: Injury updates

Preseason saw a lot of Inter Miami stars get sidelined due to injuries. Robbie Robinson, Facundo Farias, Benjamin Cremaschi, Ian Fray, Franco Negri, and Nicolas Freire are all out for months as they continue to recuperate. Concerns also surrounded the big-ticket names like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Sergio Busquets. However, going by their starting lineup against Newell’s Old Boys last week, it looks like former Barcelona icons will be kicking off the opening MLS game in Inter Miami colors.

hile Busquets didn’t feature against Messi’s boyhood club, head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino confirmed last week that the midfielder should be alright for their clash with RSL.

As for Real Salt Lake, they might have to cope without Pablo Ruiz due to a meniscus problem. Additionally, Erik Holt’s availability could be in question due to a shoulder injury. 

Inter Miami vs. Real Salt Lake: Confirmed line-ups 

Inter Miami confirmed lineup (4-3-3): Callender; Yedlin, Aviles, Kryvtsov, Alba; Gomez, Busquets, Gressel; Messi, Suarez, Taylor.

Real Salt Lake confirmed lineup (3-5-2): MacMath; Brody, Vera, Glad; Katranis, Gomez, Ojeda, Palacio, Luna; Julio, Arango.

Inter Miami vs. Real Salt Lake: Head-to-head 

Both teams will be facing each other for the first time. 

Inter Miami: LLWLD

Real Salt Lake: LLWWD

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Inter Miami vs. Real Salt Lake: Odds and prediction 

Inter Miami to win: 1.55

Real Salt Lake to win: 5.75

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Draw: 4.33

Despite boasting the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Inter Miami could endure a defeat at their home ground. They are coming off from a draining pre-season and it could be a while before Tata Martino finds the best system for his playing XI. We reckon Real Salt Lake will clinch a 1-2 victory.

How to watch Inter Miami vs. Real Salt Lake? 

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Fans can catch the action live on Apple TV – MLS Season Pass. Those in the US can also watch it on Fox Sports.

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Written by:

Abhishek Mishra

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Abhishek Mishra is a senior Soccer Writer at EssentiallySports. His early exposure to playing soccer earned him many accolades at college divisions, making him a sports enthusiast. While closely following daily updates for over a decade, Abhishek is well-versed in European soccer and now the MLS, as well.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz