Connect with us

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi furious as MLS takes time-wasting combat to next level

Inter Miami overhauled a two-goal deficit to beat CF Montreal 3-2 in their last Major League Soccer outing in a match highlighted by Lionel Messi’s frustration. 

Gerardo Martino’s side were 2-0 down when the Argentine wanted to take a free-kick from a promising position, only to be sidelined by the referee after being tackled by Montreal defender George Campbell.

Messi received medical treatment on the pitch, after which the referee sent him to the touchline for two minutes before allowing him to re-enter the game. 

That’s due to a new set of rules MLS has adopted this season to curb time-wasting.

If Campbell had picked up a booking for his tackle on Messi, the 2022 World Cup winner would’ve been allowed to stay on the pitch and assume responsibility for the free-kick.

Even though Matias Rojas scored from the resulting set-piece to initiate Miami’s comeback, the referee’s decision to leave Messi out of action left the superstar fuming. 

“With this type of rule, we’re going in a bad direction,” Messi said after the match, as quoted by the Guardian

MLS has been among the most vocal enemies of time-wasting, embracing a prominent role in the International Football Association Board’s mandate to boost the amount of time the ball is in play.

However, Messi wasn’t the only player to fall foul of the new rules. 

Luis Suarez was found guilty of violating a ten-second rule, which forces MLS players to leave the field on short notice once the fourth official raises the board for a substitution. 

As a result, the fourth official postponed the Uruguayan’s stoppage-time withdrawal for a minute, provoking angry reactions from the Miami bench.

Before introducing this rule to the elite division, the United States Soccer Association tested it in MLS Next Pro last year, and the results exceeded expectations. 

Of more than 3,200 substitutions made, the outgoing player was able to walk off the pitch in under ten seconds 97% of the time, convincing MLS to adopt the rule this term.

More in Lionel Messi