He just keeps doing it! Lionel Messi has pretty much single-handedly made the Leagues Cup a must-watch tournament with his unbelievable array of skills.
Now he is in the quarterfinals of the tournament, facing Charlotte FC on August 12, 2023. Inter Miami will hope to keep their fairytale run going powered by the ex-Barcelona trinity of Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and of course, Lionel Messi.
Here’s the match preview, buildup, team news, and more as Lionel Messi seeks to make the Leagues Cup his first trophy in USA football!
Inter Miami vs Charlotte FC preview
Inter Miami mean business. FC Dallas were beaten on penalties after a 4-4 draw in normal time in a thrilling encounter in the Round-of-16.
Lionel Messi picked up where he left off as he scored an amazing goal in the 6th minute to give them the lead, before curling a majestic freekick in the dying embers of the game to go to extra time.
The Argentine looks like a man reborn playing with his former Barcelona teammates and Miamia’s players like Robert Taylor and Josef Martinez are also benefitting greatly.
Charlotte will arguably represent an easier challenge than FC Dallas. They are 12th in the Eastern Conference table, just two spots above Inter Miami at the bottom.
Unlike the South Beach side, they don’t have any marquee players either. European fans might be familiar with European football veterans in Kamil Jozwiak and Ashley Westwood, who spent a lot of their careers in England.
Inter Miami vs Charlotte FC predicted lineup
Inter Miami team news
The speed at which Lionel Messi and Co. have become “plug-and-play” fixtures in the Miami lineup has been astonishing.
There has been no settling-in period needed. Line-breaking passes from Sergio Busquets to Messi restarted like they never left. Jordi Alba started the last game and his cutbacks from the left to Messi on the edge of the box would have put some Barcelona fans in tears of nostalgia.
The trio has been ably supported by other attackers like Robert Taylor and Josef Martinez but their defence needs work.
Predicted Inter Miami XI: Callender, Yedlin, Miller, Kryvtsov, Alba, Arroyo, Busquets, Gomez, Messi, Martinez, Taylor
Charlotte FC team news
Just like Inter Miami, Charlotte have left their domestic troubles behind them to bring the best to the Leagues Cup.
They upset FC Dallas in the group stages, shocked everyone by beating Mexican giants Cruz Azul in the Round-of-32, and then followed it up with another upset against Houston Dynamo in the Round-of-16.
A settled lineup has been successful for the manager Christian Lattanzio as the players have become used to playing with each other.
Not many changes are expected from the lineup that has engineered this remarkable fairytale.
Predicted Inter Miami XI: Kahlina, Lindsey, Malanda, Privett, Byrne, Westwood, Jozwiak, Arfield, Bronico, Vargas, Swiderski
Inter Miami vs Charlotte FC prediction
It is hard to look beyond Inter Miami in any game they play right now. Inter Miami’s stadium, DRV PNK Stadium will again be roaring to see their heroes in action.
Messi has tasted blood with early success in the USA and looks hungry for more. Goals and assists are flowing from his feet and Miami look irresistible in attack.
Charlotte will likely score too because of Inter Miami’s defensive frailties but expect their imperious attacking form to ride them over the line yet again.
Lionel Messi is coming for the Leagues Cup.
FootTheBall predicts Inter Miami 3-1 Charlotte FC.