"No Messi no party", "Time to cook" - Fans react as Martino names his Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami starting XI vs Orlando City

Fans think Gerardo Martino
Fans think Gerardo Martino's side may struggle without Lionel Messi.

Inter Miami clash with Orlando City tonight (May 15) but they'll be without Lionel Messi who is nursing a knee injury. Fans are furious with the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner's absence and are in two minds about whether Gerardo Martino's men will prevail in the Florida derby.

Messi will miss tonight's game at Inter & Co Stadium against the Herons' rivals. He sustained an injury in his side's 3-2 comeback victory against Montreal last time out (May 12).

The Argentine icon has been in excellent form this season and will be a miss for Martino. He's registered 12 goals and 11 assists in 12 games across competitions.

Robert Taylor starts instead and the Finnish forward will be hoping to impress. He's been handed a bit-part role this season, managing three goals and one assist in 12 games.

Martino has started Drake Callender in goal, with Marcelo Weigandt, Tomas Aviles, Nicolas Freire, and Franco Negri in defense.

Julian Gressel, Sergio Busquets, and Benjamin Cremaschi are in midfield for Martino's side.

Luis Suarez leads the line alongside Matias Rojas and Taylor with Lionel Messi missing out.

All eyes will be on how Inter Miami fare without their skipper in the Florida derby. They don't have a good record when the Barcelona icon has been absent this season, winning one of four MLS games.

One fan was upset the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner hadn't made the trip due to injury:

"No Messi no party."

Another fan was more upbeat and was pleased Martino reverted to a 4-3-3 formation:

"4-3-3 back, time to cook."

Here's how other fans on X (formerly Twitter) reacted to Martino's team selection to face rivals Orlando:

One fan predicted Suarez would grab a brace and Cremaschi would be on the scoresheet:

"2 Goals for Suarez. 1 for Benja."

Another fan hopes Inter Miami make their skipper proud:

"Lets go... make Messi proud."

One fan posted a snap of Rojas and suggested he could be a bright spark tonight:

"Lucky charm?"

Some fans were less optimistic and one backed the Herons to suffer defeat:

"Messi is not available which means you guys are losing tonight."

Another fan had a similar response although they praised Rojas:

"Miami without Messi is an absolute dumpster fire but I have all my faith in Rojas."

Matias Rojas delves into life playing alongside 'best in history' Lionel Messi at Inter Miami

Rojas has spent just a month playing with Lionel Messi, 36, at DRV PNK Stadium. The Paraguayan attacking midfielder joined Inter Miami last month after leaving Brazilian outfit Corinthians.

The 28-year-old spoke about how he approaches playing with the Herons' skipper. He told Deporte Total USA that he thinks Lionel Messi is the best in history:

"It’s a big responsibility. There are two ways to approach playing with him, you can either sink or you can swim. In my opinion, he is the best in history. You can either play with the fact he will not understand your pressure or you let it go, and he solves all that with what he does."

Lionel Messi has flourished since arriving at Vice City last summer when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired. He's become an Inter Miami hero with 23 goals and 16 assists in 26 games, captaining them to Leagues Cup glory last year.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett
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