“It’s still a really good team we beat.”

A day earlier, Martino said Messi’s chance to play in the Open Cup final was only present because it was a final. If it was just another match, Messi wouldn’t play.

Inter Miami’s next match is Saturday against New York City FC at DRV PNK Stadium.

Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said, via translator, after Wednesday's loss that Messi will “absolutely play before the season is over."

“We will go match by match and see when the medical department will give us the OK for him to play without much risk,” Martino said of Messi.

Messi is dealing with an old, nagging injury that remains undisclosed, but won’t require surgery.

“I thought it was a really exhausted team,” Martino said. “We’re going to start suffering the consequences of so many games we’ve played.”