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Messi day-to-day with leg injury, questionable for NYCFC game

FORT LAUDERDALE — Lionel Messi practiced Friday morning, but a leg injury will keep Inter Miami away from New York City FC in a crucial MLS matchup on Saturday. Once again the decision was made during the game.

Assistant coach Javier Morales also said Friday that veteran left back Jordi Alba will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury.

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“Leo will train based on day-to-day decisions,” Morales said. “Jody’s recovery will be longer.”

Both former Barcelona teammates missed Lamar Hunt’s 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo in the U.S. Open final on Wednesday night as Miami failed to secure its second trophy of the season.

The Miami Heat missed 18 shots in the first half, then made some adjustments at halftime and had some chances in the final seconds to nearly send the game to overtime.

The South Florida club is five points and five spots clear in the MLS Cup playoff race, with Saturday’s opponent NYCFC occupying the ninth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. If the Miami Heat can pick up three points and get some help elsewhere, a win on Saturday could move Miami from 14th to 11th and within two points of a playoff spot .

Saturday’s game will be Miami’s first of three MLS games in eight days, a critical period that could play a big role in determining their playoff fate.

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