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If it seems like Inter Miami are playing matches every three days, that's because they are. After winning Leagues Cup and advancing to the U.S. Open Cup final, league play now returning makes for a very busy schedule. The logjam of matches has made a tricky situation for manager Tata Martino to handle as  the minutes pile up for his stars.

Lionel Messi may be magical, but he isn't a robot and to keep that magic flowing he and other members of the team will need to rest at times. But the team is 14 points out of a playoff spot which means that, at least at the margins, Inter Miami's season will be decided by their reserves just as much as it will be determined by Messi.

And it's not just Messi, whose legs will need to be monitored. He's 36 years old, but his friends are all also getting up there. Sergio Busquets is 35, Jordi Alba is 34 and even Josef Martinez, who they all joined in Miami is 30. And then of course there's the looming international break. Major League Soccer won't be taking a break but Argentina will host Ecuador on September 7th and head to Bolivia on the 12th for World Cup qualifying. All of which is to say, Miami has very little margin for error, and Martino's job is going to revolve around keeping his aging stars as fit and fresh as possible while still getting the results he needs.

Here's our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:

How to watch and odds

  • Date: Saturday, Aug. 26 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Red Bull Arena -- Harrison, New Jersey
  • TV: None  | Live stream: MLS Season Pass on AppleTV+
  • Odds: New York Red Bulls +165; Draw +250; Inter Miami +150


New York Red Bulls: This team is among the best defensive teams in the league and now they're faced with the impossible task of keeping Messi from being involved in a goal. It's something no team has accomplished yet. The best hope for them is that Messi doesn't start the match, in which case a new kit debut could help push them to an early lead in the match. Miami will also need to watch out for giving the Red Bulls set play scenarios as well after John Tolkin scored from a direct free kick in his last match. Forward Dante Vanzeir will also be a game-time decision with a hamstring injury

Inter Miami: Facing a team below the playoff line, this is a must win for the Herons. They don't have much time to make up ground in the league, so even if Messi is on the bench, they need to win the clash. Defensively, Miami has improved but Drake Callender has been under a lot of pressure in net. While the Red Bulls don't have a top attack, they're playing with fire if they don't begin limiting the opposition more.


After a rough first half, Miami will need to sub messi on in the 60th minute to again overturn a deficit as their Hollywood season continues. Pick: New York Red Bulls 1, Inter Miami 2