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Lionel Messi AND Jordi Alba suffer injuries and exit Inter Miami’s 4-0 victory vs. Toronto

Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba departed with apparent injuries during what might have been a costly 4-0 win for Inter Miami over visiting Toronto FC on Wednesday.

Jordi Alba and Lionel Messi injury

Alba was substituted off in the 35th minute, and Messi left the field two minutes later. Neither player had suffered an obvious injury, but both were in discomfort with apparent lower-body ailments.

Neither Messi nor Alba played in Miami's match on Saturday due to what coach Gerardo Martino described as "muscle fatigue." The club was trying to manage the two players' health and minutes through the Herons' busy schedule, which includes the U.S. Open Cup final next Wednesday.

Robert Taylor recorded a brace and Facundo Farias and Benjamin Cremaschi also had goals as the Herons (9-15-4, 31 points) moved closer to the Eastern Conference playoff line. However, the bigger-picture focus was on the health of Miami's star players.

Miami is 11-0-1 in all competitions with Messi in the lineup, including a 3-0-1 mark in regular-season matches.

Toronto FC (4-15-10, 22 points) lost Victor Vazquez and Brandon Servania to injuries in the first 26 minutes.

All the early stoppages led to nine minutes of extra time in the first half, and Farias struck three minutes into the extended period for his third goal of the season.

Taylor entered the match as Messi's substitute, then dominated the second half for one of the best performances of his two MLS seasons.

In the 54th minute, Taylor displayed excellent ball control in finding space to shoot from the edge of the box. A chip-pass from Farias set up Taylor's next goal in the 87th minute, with Taylor converting a shot from a tough angle.

Sandwiched between his two goals, Taylor also earned an assist crossing to Cremaschi in the 73rd minute. It was the second tally of the season for the 18-year-old Cremaschi.

Miami's Drake Callender made two saves for his fifth shutout of the season. Callender got some help from his goalposts, as Toronto FC's Lorenzo Insigne and Deandre Kerr each hit the iron.

Toronto is the only MLS team with a winless (0-10-4) road record this season.

--Field Level Media

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