Inter Miami humbled by Atlanta United – in first loss since Messi’s arrival

Inter Miami was without Lionel Messi and suffered its first loss since his arrival in July in a 5-2 humbling at Atlanta United in front of a crowd of 71,635 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday.

Tristan Muyumba, Brooks Lennon and a Kamal Miller own goal put the home side in front at the end of the first half before Georgios Giakoumakis and Tyler Wolff each scored in the second as Atlanta improved to 9-3-3 at home. The club remains in sixth in the MLS Eastern Conference after the victory.

Miami manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino said Messi and Spanish defender Jordi Alba missed the game due to “muscular fatigue” and that their absences were not related to the FieldTurf surface at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Atlanta United coach Gonzalo Pineda said he learned about Messi’s decision on social media.

“I checked the Twitter account to know he was not coming,” Pineda said, adding he encouraged his players to remain focused despite the attention given Messi’s status.

“Honestly, I told the players, there are a lot of things out there in the atmosphere and everything seems to be about Inter Miami. We have to turn that to about us.”

Miami has matches at home against Toronto on Wednesday and at Orlando on Sept. 24 before the U.S. Open Cup final against the Houston Dynamo three days later.

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