With Lionel Messi out of the gameday squad, CF Montreal took its chance and left South Florida with three huge points.

Montreal outlasted Inter Miami 3-2 on Sunday evening at Chase Stadium in front of a packed house, which included Messi and his family in the stands. Just as Inter Miami struggled on set pieces last season, Gerardo Martino’s team found it hard to defend them today, as Montreal scored a pair of goals on set pieces and a third in transition, with most of Inter Miami’s midfield nowhere to be found.

Montreal’s centerback Fernando Alvarez scored his first MLS goal in the 13th minute off a corner kick to give the away side the lead, and a pair of quick goals from Uruguayan striker Matias Coccaro and substitute Sunusi Ibrahim were enough to secure the victory.

Inter Miami vs CF Montreal final score

 Final scoreGoalscorers
Inter Miami2Campana 71′, Alba 80′
CF Montreal3Alvarez 13′, Coccaro 75′, Ibrahim 79′


Inter Miami starting lineup (5-3-2, right to left): Callender (GK) — Ruiz, Aviles, Kryvtsov, Allen, Alba — Gressel, Redondo, Sunderland — Campana, Taylor.

Inter Miami subs (9): Dos Santos (GK), Sailor, Freire, Boatwright, Busquets, Suarez, Borgelin, Gomez 

Montreal starting lineup (4-2-3-1, right to left): Sirois (GK) — Ruan, Alvarez, Waterman, Corbo — Piette, Choiniere — Coccaro, Duke, Lassiter – Vilsant

Montreal subs (9): Breza, Wanyama, Sosa, Jankov, Ibrahim, Zouhir, Martinez, Jabang, Edwards

Inter Miami goals from Leo Campana, which initially tied the game, and Jordi Alba, which cut the deficit in half late, failed to bring home even a point.

The match featured three former Inter Miami players playing for Montreal, including striker Josef Martinez, who had an assist for the game-winning goal.

Inter Miami vs CF Montreal analysis

Set pieces continue to be a problem for Inter Miami

With so much money spent on attacking talent plus Sergio Busquets, Inter Miami has had to try to piece together a defensive unit. And it showed on Sunday evening.

Even from the start, there was confusion on who was marking who on defensive corners. Alvarez missed an open header just minutes before scoring the game-opening goal, and he was wide open yet again for that one. In the second half, Coccaro found himself onside but still away from any defenders for a terrific glancing-header goal. If Miami had defended better on these set pieces, perhaps they win this 2-0.

Instead, Martino’s side was left to pick up the pieces and prepare for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions Cup match on a downer.

Inter Miami missed Messi, big stars

For the first time since the start of the MLS season, Messi was held out of a game. A team spokesperson told reporters at Chase Stadium that the official reason was “rest”. But for those who saw Messi’s knock he picked up last Thursday at Nashville, it could have been injury related as well.

Whatever the reason, Inter Miami missed not only Messi, but the presence of Busquets and Suarez from the starting lineup. While they were able to control possession by the middle of the first half, Miami struggled to create many chances and couldn’t convert any until the stars came into the match in the second half.

MORE: Suarez scores late to secure dramatic Inter Miami draw with Nashville

Inter Miami vs CF Montreal live updates, highlights, and commentary

Full time: Miami fans saw today how much the club misses Messi. Without him on the field to either create magic or take so much attention, it was much harder for Inter Miami to operate. Montreal’s defense was strong most of the night, and they converted the chances they had. 

90+11 min: Full time! That’s the end of the game. What a result for Montreal, a second-straight win on the road. Gerardo Martino meanwhile immediately goes the referees along with one of his assistants and is deep in conversation with them. 

90+10 min: Busquets gets into the attack, ends up heading a ball over his back to Campana but it’s cleared away. 

90+8 min: Busquets gets nailed in the face by Martinez, winning a free kick. Inter Miami plays the ball upfield and it gets towards Ruiz down the right wing, he goes down under contest with Edwards but the referee doesn’t call a foul and it’s out for a goal kick. 

90+6 min: Ibrahim tries to take it into the corner, but Alba wins it back to Busquets and they’re right up the field. However, a heavy touch leads to Edwards winning a free kick and he stays down to get medical treatment. Breaks up the rhythm of the game. Montreal free kick as we approach the minimum nine minutes of stoppage time. 

90+5 min: Busquets plays a cross forward to Borgelin, but it’s right to Sirois who is quick off his goal line. 

90+3 min: Allen with a professional foul, chopping down Ruan on a break down the wing and it’s an easy yellow card for the Inter Miami defender. 

90+2 min: Free kick to Miami…Edwards shown a yellow card for time wasting, I believe. Alba standing over the free kick….header away by Alvarez. 

90th min: CHANCE for Miami! Borgelin gets loose in the box after a failed clearance by Montreal but he puts his chance way over the bar. Terrific cross by Ruiz into the area.

Then we find out from the officials – 9 minutes of stoppage time! Plenty of time for an Inter Miami leveler or a Montreal dagger. 

89th min: Off a throw-in, Montreal has a chance and Ruan is played into the box but his first-time shot is way over the bar. No composure from the Brazilian. 

88th min: Montreal with a couple of moments in possession but they waste it, Ibrahim isn’t on the same page as Raheem Edwards, who is into the game, and the ball goes out of play. 

86th min: CHANCE for Miami! Alba plays a beautiful cross into the box but Campana tries to stab at it, and he doesn’t get the touch right and it’s cleared out for a corner kick. After the corner kick, Suarez skins Ruan down the left side of the box and his shot goes off the top of the crossbar. Campana is shown a yellow card for dissent as he and Suarez complain vehemently for a corner kick after Suarez’s shot. I think they have a point, based on video review. 

84th min: Martino brings on Borgelin for Taylor, with more new fresh legs up top. Miami is really going for it at home. 

81st min: Campana is played through into the box and nearly latches on to an early cross, but it’s ruled back for Campana being offside. 

80th min: OH WOW, GOAL INTER MIAMI! Jordi Alba on the half-volley from 30-yards out and it’s a curling screamer into the upper 90, past Sirois. It’s game-on, Miami trails by one goal, it’s 3-2 Montreal. 

79th min: GOAL MONTREAL! Coccaro plays Martinez into space and he dribbles into the box at pace. Allen slows Martinez down but Martinez plays an easy ball back to Ibrahim, who scores past Callender off a deflection. All the air has been taken out of this place. It’s 3-1. 

78th min: Both sides make a change. Inter Miami brings on Luis Suarez, needing a goal, and Montreal brings on Ibrahim Sunusi. 

75th min: GOAL MONTREAL! Coccaro with a glancing header off a free kick just before Callender and Montreal is back on top. That came out of nowhere and Inter Miami again struggles on set pieces. What a terrific free kick by Choiniere. 2-1, Montreal. 

73rd min: Inter Miami wants a second as Ruiz plays an early cross into the box, but it’s ahead of everyone. By the way, just before the corner kick, Montreal made a double-substitution, bringing on Wanyama and Yankov for Piette and Vilsant. 

71st min: GOAL INTER MIAMI! It’s Leo Campana at the far post after a corner kick is recycled and Sunderland delivers a terrific cross to Campana, over the outstretched arms of Sirois. It’s 1-1 and Miami has all the momentum. 

69th min: Great play by Inter Miami in tight spaces in front of the penalty box and Ruiz takes a touch and glides into the box and goes down. Inter Miami players surround the referee, no call yet but there will be a VAR check….referee says no penalty kick. 

66th min: Triple substitution for Inter Miami. End of the day for Redondo who was tiring as the game went on. Terrific MLS debut. Aviles and Gressel come off as well. In their place is Sergio Busquets, Diego Gomez, and Nicolas Freire. 

64th min: Alba and Campana are standing over the free kick. 6-man wall….and Campana takes it and the wall does its job to block it away. Alba has a second chance to cross into the box from the right wing, but it’s punched away by Sirois. 

61st min: Ruiz is fouled by Vilsant 25 yards from goal and Inter Miami wins a free kick. Ruiz and Vilsant are both down receiving treatment, but Vilsant is set to be shown a yellow card as soon as he stands up. 

59th min: Offside! Taylor looks to break the high Montreal defensive line and sets up Campana, but the flag is delayed on goes up as soon as Taylor passes the ball. 

57th min: Krvystov with a hard foul on Martinez – his former teammate – and it’s another yellow card. 

55th min: Campana gets a chance just outside the box, but his shot towards goal is blocked by Waterman and then cleared away. 

54th min: Montreal captain Samuel Piette has been huge today, winning back loose balls in the middle of the field all game. 

52nd min: Gressel dribbles dorward and he’s fouled by Coccaro. Free kick opportunity now for Inter Miami…ball is played into the box but it falls to Ruan, who dribbles away from danger. 

49th min: Yellow card to Aviles of Inter Miami for a foul on Martinez. 

47th min: Miami still trying to build through Alba and he plays a ball forward into the box to Campana, but Waterman cuts it out. By the way, Josef Martinez is on for Montreal, and he plays through Coccaro but Aviles plays a last-ditch tackle to knock the ball out of play. 

2nd Half Kickoff: We are underway! 

Half time: CF Montreal 1, Inter Miami 0. Montreal had a couple of early chances and converted on one of them, while Miami grew into the game. However, Inter Miami couldn’t convert one of their many chances. Plenty of more action to come. 

45th min: Chance for Montreal down the right wing, Ruan crosses it in but it’s a heavy touch by Vilsant and out of play. 

42nd min: Another chance for Taylor! This time it’s from the riht wing as Aviles crosses one in and finds a wide-open Taylor, but his header is straight to Sirois. 

41st min: CHANCE for Inter Miami! Taylor gets free in the box, his first touch is a little heavy but he still finds a way to poke it over Sirois but it goes off the crossbar and over. Best chance of the night (that wasn’t called back for offside) by Miami. 

39th min: Gressel finds himself in space down the right wing, but he way overhits his cross into the box and it’s out for a goal-kick. A missed opportunity. 

37th min: Redondo again attempts a line-breaking pass over the top, this time to Taylor, and he blasts one just wide. But the assistant referee calls it back for offside. Miami is in complete control at the moment. 

35th min: Redondo with another chance in the final third, he shifts to his right and tries to play a through ball to Taylor, but it’s cut out by Corbo. The Argentine Redondo has some serious skill. 

31st min: CHANCE for Montreal! Coccaro again gets free in the box and gets a shot off producing a great save by Callender. Then Coccaro gets the rebound, shifts left and right before gettin taken down by Kryvtsov, but the referee waves away the protests. After a VAR check, no penalty kick is given. 

30th min: Redondo leads the break and blazes down the field, finding Sunderland on the left wing. Sunderland’s curling effort is well wide though, wasting the hard work from Redondo. 

24th min: Inter Miami defender Noah Allan makes a terrific tackle and clears the danger after Vilsant nearly got on a loose ball in the penalty box. 

22nd min: Offside! Campana plays a terrific chip to Alba into the box and Alba fires into the goal, but it’s called back. This time he was maybe half-a-length offside. Still 1-0, Montreal. 

19th min: Yellow card to Redondo for a tough tackle (maybe an elbow too) to Bryce Duke. Messi was just shown in the stands by the broadcast, so he’s in the house today. 

17th min: Chance for Inter Miami! Ruiz goes for the spectacular bicycle kick but he misses it badly. Then, Redondo plays a terrific chip over the top to Alba but it’s eventually called back because Alba was a step offside. 

13th min: GOAL Montreal! Fernando Alvarez with a free header off the corner kick and the visitors take an early lead. It’s Alvarez’s first goal in MLS. Inter Miami’s defense was all over the place, no one marked the big centerback. 

12th min: WHAT A MISS! Drake Callender is off his line but misreads the ball outside of the box and it zips over his head after bouncing on the ground. Coccaro runs on to it but he can’t get his shot off as it’s blocked by Inter Miami’s defense. 

8th min: Alba plays a hopeful early ball into the box but it’s too far ahead of Campana. 

7th min: CHANCE for Montreal! Great work by Lassiter down the left wing (Roy must be so proud) and he delivers in a terrific cross to the far post. Coccaro meets it but it is blocked by Inter Miami’s defense, and then Vilsant’s shot is cleared away. Two quick chances for Montreal. 

6th min: Dangerous free kick whipped in by Montreal, headed behind for a corner. Choiniere delivers the corner and Alvarez misses a wide-open header. What an early chance.

3rd min: Inter Miami is taking advantage of the younger lineup by pressing Montreal high early on. David Ruiz ends up with the ball high up the field and he tries to play Taylor through, but it’s cut out by Alvarez of Montreal. 

1st Half Kickoff: We are underway from Chase Stadium! Aleksandar Zhelyazkov is today’s center referee. 

10 mins before kickoff: Reports out of Fort Lauderdale that even though Suarez and Busquets are listed on the bench, they’re not among the substitutes kicking a ball around on the field during pre-game warmups. Perhaps they’re going through some physio work under the stadium in the locker room. 

30 mins before kickoff: Messi picked up a knock during the 2-2 draw at Nashville after getting hit hard on his shin on a follow-through. With so many games coming up this season, this was an easy decision for the coach, though a difficult one for the club from a marketing perspective. 

45 mins before kickoff: And here’s Montreal’s starting lineup – former Inter Miami forward Josef Martinez makes the bench, along with Victor Wanyama. Matias Coccaro is back in the lineup after going off the field injured last week in a 2-1 win at FC Dallas. 

50 mins before kickoff: There’s the confirmation – No Lionel Messi today. He’s been left off the gameday roster by coach Gerardo Martino. Jordi Alba starts along with Federico Redondo and Leo Campana. Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez make the bench. 

55 mins before kickoff: Lineups are here! Coming shortly…

1 hour, 5 mins before kickoff: Unless Lionel Messi entered through another door, it looks like he won’t be involved in the action today. 

1 hour, 15 mins before kickoff: There are some showers in the area across Florida that could reach Fort Lauderdale during the game, but it doesn’t look like it will affect the game like the torrential downpours in Philadelphia last night. 

1 hour, 30 mins before kickoff: In addition to his Messi lineup decision, Martino could hand an MLS debut to Federico Redondo, the son of former Argentine great Fernando Redondo. Federico is a holding midfielder and will be expected to play major minutes with Inter Miami this season involved in 3 competitions (MLS, CONCACAF Champions Cup, and Leagues Cup). 

Meanwhile, the field at Chase Stadium is looking pristine.

2 hours before kickoff: The big storyline heading into this match is “Will he play or won’t he?” That’s referring to Inter Miami star Lionel Messi, who went the full 90 minutes in his club’s 2-2 comeback draw at Nashville on Thursday in CONCACAF Champions Cup action. 

Speaking with the media on Saturday, Inter Miami assistant coach Javier Morales – an MLS legend from his days as a player at Real Salt Lake and a fellow Argentine to Messi and coach Gerardo Martino – said that all the players who played on Thursday would be assessed on Saturday and then there would be a determination of who would take part on Sunday. With the second leg coming this Wednesday at home, it’s easy to see Martino could rest Messi, Suarez and many of his ageing stars so they are fresher for the cup match.