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Lionel Messi was withdrawn with what appeared to be a muscle problem, leading to Taylor’s arrival and subsequent performance which saw him score two goals and assist another.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.
Mercifully for Miami, head coach Gerardo Martino confirmed after the match that Messi was suffering from “fatigue” and at least does not have a more serious muscle injury.