Lionel Messi and Inter Miami got eliminated from the MLS Playoff contention

Lionel Messi's first season in Major League Soccer ended with heartbreak as Inter Miami were eliminated from the contention for the playoffs.

Abishek Goswami
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There will be no happy ending to Lionel Messi's first season in Major League Soccer after his Inter Miami team were eliminated from contention for the playoffs. FC Cincinnati defeated Inter Miami by 1-0 to kick them out of contention. DC United also missed out on a spot as the former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney left his post by "mutual agreement".

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Messi made little impact on the field and although he had two free-kick opportunities within his shooting range, both his efforts sailed harmlessly wide. Other results also went against Miami.

Messi had played just 37 minutes for his club since September 3, after returning with an injury from international duty with Argentina last month. Without him Miami struggled, paying the price for their successful run to the Leagues Cup title in August. Martino's team have won just once in their last six MLS games.

Another poor MLS season for Inter Miami

Messi played in the only win in that timeline, coming off in the first half of their 4-0 win over bottom club Toronto. After the Leagues Cup triumph in Nashville on August 19, Miami had chances to go for two more trophies this season but, without Messi, they lost their US Open Cup final to Houston and now got kicked out of contention in the league.

"Honestly, I expected the season to be exactly the opposite of what happened," said Martino. "My expectations were to put the group together, shape it football-wise, not transcend too much in the Leagues Cup, compete well in the Cup (US Open Cup), and qualify for the playoffs, but it was exactly the opposite as it usually happens when a coach thinks something," he added.

Miami's final two games are both against Charlotte. It is still not confirmed if Messi will feature for those two games as he has been called up for Argentina's upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

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