The confusion and concern surrounding Inter Miami and its tour in Asia is continuing after Apple removed the Vissel Kobe friendly. Originally, the league’s streaming partner announced the friendly between Inter Miami and Japanese side Vissel Kobe would be on MLS Season Pass. A chunk of issues surrounding the friendly in Hong Kong have plunged the Asia tour into chaos, though.

Without any apparent explanation, Apple pulled the schedule friendly between the two off of MLS Season Pass. The game is still happening, and Inter Miami will play Vissel Kobe on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 5 a.m. ET. On Monday, Major League Soccer confirmed that MLS Season Pass would not stream Inter Miami’s last friendly in Asia. Consequently, there are no plans for broadcast or streaming information when the two meet on Wednesday morning.

The lack of streaming information had put more issues on what has been a rocky preseason tour for Inter Miami. Miami drew against El Salvador in a scoreless affair. Then, Inter Miami lost to FC Dallas in the Cotton Bowl, where there were many empty seats. The trip to Asia got off to an exciting start with a 4-3 loss against Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal. However, Messi and Ronaldo’s highly anticipated matchup against Al Nassr did not go as planned. Ronaldo did not play due to injury. Also, Messi only made a brief substitute appearance in the closing stages of the 6-0 loss.

The game in Hong Kong highlighted the issues. Messi did not make an appearance in that game. Supporters voiced their frustrations and demanded refunds for not seeing Messi. Initially, rumors circled that Inter Miami was canceling its tour entirely, which would have meant no friendly against Vissel Kobe. That is not the case, and Wednesday’s game is going on as planned.

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Kobe friendly issues make for rocky start to Inter Miami season

The 2024 season is supposed to be a major season for Inter Miami and Major League Soccer. However, there are concerns that the issues plaguing Inter Maimi’s preseason tour are getting Lionel Messi’s first full season in Major League Soccer off to the wrong start. With the Hong Kon supporters asking for a refund on their tickets, Inter Miami’s prioritization of Messi’s health makes sense for the club, but it certainly hurts its reputation.

Inter Miami is working to keep the spirits of supporters domestically and internationally up. The club posted on its social media accounts that it had landed in Japan. That included photos of Jordi Alba and Lionel Messi among others getting off the plane in Tokyo ahead of Wednesday’s friendly.

There is no guarantee Messi will make an appearance, though. His status for the game on Wednesday is far from certain. Moreover, with the Major League Soccer season just three weeks away, Inter Miami wants its star healthy for what will be a busy season. Messi also has the Copa America in the middle of the MLS season. Therefore, he will play a considerable number of games, and the prospect of missing games to provide rest is growing increasingly likely. The friendlies in Hong Kong and Japan could provide a glimpse into the frustration fans would have.


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