ATLANTA (AP) — Inter Miami star Lionel Messi did not dress for Saturday's match at Atlanta United, the second match he missed this week.
Atlanta is among five MLS stadiums with artificial turf surfaces. Miami did not announce reasons that Messi and defender Jordi Alba did not dress.
Messi's absence for the Major League Soccer match was a disappointment for what was expected to be a sellout crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Messi watched from the bench on Tuesday in Argentina's World Cup qualifying win at Bolivia. Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni said Messi was not feeling well.
Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said Friday he will avoid overworking the 36-year-old Messi during a busy portion of the team's schedule.
“We will be careful with him because we have a lot of important games in a short span,” said Martino, the former Atlanta coach.
Miami has matches at home against Toronto on Wednesday and at Orlando on Sept. 24.
“This is something that we knew would happen at some point,” Martino said, adding Messi needed time “to get used to our needs.”
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Charles Odum, The Associated Press