Messi Miami MonterreyGetty/GOAL

Mission (almost) Impossible? Lionel Messi's return offers Inter Miami hope of doing what few other MLS teams can: Win in Mexico

There's a word Inter Miami defender Franco Negri used to describe Lionel Messi's return from injury this past weekend: "hope". It's what Messi can inspire in his teammates. He's achieved so many things in his magical career that those alongside him feel like achieving even more is inevitable. That hope lifts their spirits, but also gives them responsibility. They, too, want to be part of Messi's next triumph.

“Obviously Leo’s return gives all of us hope,” Negri said “Every one of us has to give their all because we have to go out to win on Wednesday.”

Hope won't be enough on Wednesday, though. It's too tall of a task. Down 2-1 from the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions Cup quarter-final, Messi and Miami will walk into Monterrey as heavy underdogs. And it's not just the scoreline that's against them, but history.

In this competition, MLS teams are 6-59-14 in competitive games in Mexico, with that sixth win coming thanks to the Columbus Crew's stunning shootout victory over Tigres on Tuesday. Over two-leg series against teams from Mexico in this competition, MLS clubs are just 14-50. It's a rough record, and there's no denying that MLS has always been second-best in this competition.

Prior teams, though, didn't have Messi and, luckily for them, Inter Miami does. They head into Monterrey with perhaps the greatest player of all time leading the charge. He may not be 100 percent fit, and he definitely isn't 100 percent sharp, but he is Messi and, on many days, that will be enough.

It likely won't be in this upcoming second leg. Monterrey are ready for the challenge, and there's already plenty of bad blood built up between these two teams. Locker-room clashes, leaked WhatsApps, big accusations... the atmosphere will be fiery on Wednesday evening as Messi and co. look to do the impossible.

Can he do it? Can he conjure the impossible? Well, he's been doing it for a long while now, and with Messi leading the charge, Miami will believe that anything is possible.

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