Hurricane Ian disrupts Inter Miami preparation for pivotal road game at Toronto FC

Add Mother Nature to the list of foes Inter Miami has had to overcome this season.

Five of Miami’s 15 home games — and six games overall — have been delayed or interrupted by inclement weather this season. Some of those delays lasted several hours.

Then, this week, as the team prepares for a critical road game Friday night against Toronto FC, Hurricane Ian forced the cancellation of outdoor training on Tuesday.

There was a chance Wednesday’s practice was also going to be canceled, but the team was able to get a training session in during a window of calm weather in the morning.

“The safety of our players, staff and their loved ones is our number one priority,” said Inter Miami sporting director Chris Henderson. “After closely monitoring the weather, the team conducted a training session [Wednesday] morning to prepare for Friday’s important game. The team’s schedule the rest of the week tentatively remains the same, as we continue to keep track of conditions and make the best decisions for our players, staff and their families with safety at the forefront of our thinking.”

The team is scheduled to travel to Toronto on Thursday afternoon.

With three games remaining in the regular season, Inter Miami is clinging to the seventh and final playoff spot in the East. Miami is coming off back-to-back wins over Columbus and D.C. United. Three teams in the East have clinched berths (Philadelphia, Montreal, New York Red Bulls). Three are eliminated (Chicago, Toronto, D.C. United). The remaining eight are still alive in the playoff race.

New York City FC is on the verge of clinching with 49 points. Cincinnati has 46 points, Orlando 45, Miami and Columbus 42, Atlanta 40 and Charlotte and New England 38.

The final two Miami games are at home, Oct. 5 against Orlando City (rescheduled from Sept. 4) and Oct. 9 against CF Montreal.

Yedlin, Lowe back from International Break

Right back DeAndre Yedlin (USA) and center back Damion Lowe (Jamaica) are on their way back to rejoin the team after spending the past 10 days playing for their national teams.

Yedlin started against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and helped secure a clean sheet in a 0-0 tie in Murcia, Spain. It was his 75th appearance for Team USA, a milestone reached by just 31 other players in U.S. soccer history. He was the first since Jozy Altidore in 2014 to reach 75. Yedlin is also the only player on the U.S. roster who has World Cup experience, as he was a member of the 2014 team in Brazil.

Yedlin left the game with an ankle injury early in the second half but is expected to be available on Friday night in Toronto.

Inter Miami right back DeAndre Yedlin (right), playing for the U.S. national team, battles a Saudi Arabian player in a 0-0 tie on Sept. 27, 2022 in Murcia, Spain. It was a World Cup warmup for both teams.
Inter Miami right back DeAndre Yedlin (right), playing for the U.S. national team, battles a Saudi Arabian player in a 0-0 tie on Sept. 27, 2022 in Murcia, Spain. It was a World Cup warmup for both teams.

Lowe, captain of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, started and played all 90 minutes against Argentina in Harrison, N.J. Argentina won 3-0, and Lionel Messi scored two goals off the bench.

Edison Azcona (Inter Miami) and Israel Boatright (Inter Miami II) were called up to the Dominican Republic Under-20 team for a pair of friendlies against Colombia. Azcona was the captain. Noah Allen (Inter Miami) and Benjamin Cremaschi (Inter Miami II) played for the U.S. Under-19 team in the Slovenia Nations Cup, as the USA won all three matches over Malta, Croatia and Scotland. Cremaschi scored two goals against Croatia. Inter Miami II defender Tyler Hall represented the U.S. Under-17 team at the Jezek Cup in the Czech Republic.

Update on Taxi Fountas

MLS is still investigating Inter Miami’s allegation that D.C. United forward Taxi Fountas used a racial slur against Lowe in the Sept. 18 game in Washington, D.C., which Miami won 3-2. Fountas denied using racist language.

Messi tattoo

Lionel Messi and the Argentine national team trained at Inter Miami’s Fort Lauderdale practice facility last week and goalkeeper Francisco Ranieri, a native of Argentina who is training with Inter Miami II reserve team, got a once in a lifetime souvenir.

He got Messi to autograph on his left arm and then had it tattooed.

He posted a photo on Instagram and wrote: “The best day of my life. Yesterday, I fulfilled a dream. I shared the pitch with the players I admire, with my national team. I met my idol, the best player in history, an incredible person on and off the pitch, my example to follow!

“The emotion of seeing you and seeing that you agreed to sign my arm is indescribable. Leo, you fulfilled a dream for me and every day I look at my arm I will remember the emotion I felt when I met you. I can’t put into words how great you are!”

La Albiceleste team was South Florida preparing for a friendly against Honduras at Hard Rock Stadium, which Argentina won 3-0, including two goals from Messi.