Miami aim for Lionel Messi return at home vs. Monterrey

Inter Miami assistant coach Javier Morales confirmed that Lionel Messi will not play against New York City FC on Saturday due to a right hamstring injury, but added that the club is hopeful he will be back Wednesday for the Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinal match vs. Liga MX club Monterrey.

“Leo is working with the physios,” Morales told reporters. “He is ruled out for tomorrow, he will not be available because we will be trying to do our best so that he can play at home next Wednesday against Monterrey.”

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Messi has not played for Inter Miami since March 13, and did not join the Argentina team for friendlies against Costa Rica and El Salvador.

The MLS matchup on Saturday is the first meeting this season between Miami and NYCFC, who are trying to stop a three-game losing streak on the road.

Miami is 2-2-0 against Eastern Conference opponents. Luis Suárez paces the top-scoring team in Eastern Conference action with four goals. Miami has a conference-leading 12 goals.

Miami was undefeated in the five games Messi played but has since lost two of the three without him, including the 4-0 loss on the road to New York Red Bulls last weekend.

NYCFC went 9-11-14 overall a season ago while going 1-8-8 on the road. NYCFC averaged 1.0 goals on 4.4 shots on goal per game a season ago.

On Thursday Inter Miami signed defender Marcelo Weigandt on loan from Boca Juniors for the remainder of the MLS season to replace United States men’s national team right back DeAndre Yedlin, who was traded to FC Cincinnati for $172,799 in General Allocation Money earlier this month.

Miami signed Argentina under-23 midfielder Federico Redondo last month, but he will also miss the game Saturday and is expected to be out for eight weeks after suffering an injury to his left lateral collateral ligament while on international duty.

“We sent Federico along to the national team because he was fine,” Morales said. “He told us he felt a pain while he was over there, and we evaluated him when he returned. Unfortunately the injury happened, but he did get to play with Argentina so he was fine when he went over.”

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.