NE Revolution boss Caleb Porter previews Inter Miami and defending Lionel Messi

The Inter Miami show will make its way up the East Coast of the United States as the Herons take on New England Revolution on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.

Lionel Messi and co. are aiming to extend their winning streak to three straight games against a struggling Revs side seated at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. A win for the Herons would also extend their stay at the top of the East ahead of New York Red Bulls and FC Cincinnati.

Speaking to the media, New England head coach Caleb Porter believes that Miami’s No. 10 will feature despite the the hosts playing on an artificial turf surface — which has deterred previous stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic from playing due to a potential injury.

“I do. Yeah, that’s our mindset, is that he will play. They haven’t played on turf this year, but he played last year in Charlotte. So, our mindset is that he is going to play,” Porter said.

Porter — who’s in his first year in charge of the Revs — praised the Miami squad for their quality and noted that Messi and Luis Suarez are responsible for Miami’s success, which isn’t a new discovery by any means.

“It has to be, because obviously he [Lionel Messi] is so crucial to how they play – him, [Luis] Suarez. It’s funny, because Suarez actually has more goals than him at this point, so everybody forgets about Suarez, who is a world class player as well, and [Jordi] Alba and [Sergio] Busquets. They have a very talented team. We know how they play.”

Even though New England face a daunting challenge of taking on the Miami superteam and defending the legendary Messi, Porter emphasized that his side will have to limit — not stop — Messi by defending by “committee.”

“We’ll continue to improve ourselves and how we want to play, and we will factor in, for sure, how they play and put together what we feel is a good plan for the game. It will include trying to – you don’t stop Messi, but can you limit his touches in key areas? Because when he’s in key areas around the box, he is lethal,” said Porter.

“He is unstoppable in some ways, so we just have to do it by committee. We’re not going to man-mark him. We have to do it by committee in the zones. He floats everywhere, so wherever he floats, be aware. Can we get guys around him and make it a game where he’s not where he wants to be?”

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