Low-key debut for Suarez as Miami held by El Salvador

Luis Suarez made a subdued debut alongside former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi as Inter Miami kicked off their pre-season tour Friday with a 0-0 draw against El Salvador.

Suarez, who signed for Major League Soccer’s Miami last month from Brazilian club Gremio, started in attack alongside Argentine superstar Messi at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.

But the 36-year-old Uruguayan forward struggled to find his footing in a low-key start to his career with the Florida franchise.

Suarez, Messi and fellow former Barcelona players Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were all substituted at half-time with the match scoreless.

Messi came closest to opening the scoring on 36 minutes, latching on to a clever touch from Busquets and rifling a volley towards goal only to be denied by El Salvador goalkeeper Mario Martinez, who also stopped the Argentine’s follow-up effort.

Martinez was also alert four minutes later when Alba burst into the box only to see his shot parried away.

El Salvador almost snatched victory in the 83rd minute, but Styven Vasquez’s clever header cannoned off the bar.

Friday’s match launched a hectic series of pre-season friendlies for Miami as they prepare to kick off the new MLS season against Real Salt Lake on February 21.

Miami play FC Dallas in a friendly on Monday, then head to Saudi Arabia for games against Al-Hilal on January 29.

They face Al-Nassr on February 1 – a game that should see Messi line up against old rival Cristiano Ronaldo once more.

Miami then travel to Asia to play friendlies against a Hong Kong select team on February 4 before taking on Japanese side Vissel Kobe three days later.

The Herons return to the United States for a final pre-season game against Argentine squad Newell’s Old Boys on February 15. BSS


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