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Messi and Inter Miami start playoff push at Red Bulls


The Major League Soccer regular season returns in full with Miami, who travel to the New York Red Bulls, faced with the tough task of climbing from bottom place in the Eastern Conference and into the playoff positions.

Prior to the break for Leagues Cup - and Messi's arrival along with Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba - Miami were winless in 11 games in MLS with the worst record in the entire league.

In most leagues in the world, a team in that position would be focused purely on avoiding relegation from the top flight.

But MLS has no relegation and instead has a playoff system which could yet offer a way for the new-look Miami, under Argentine coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino, to compete for the title- MLS Cup.

The top nine finishers in each conference earn a spot in the playoffs with the top seven going into the first round, best of three series of games. The eighth and ninth placed teams play each other in a single elimination 'wild card' match to get into the first round.

Miami are currently 14 points behind ninth place with 12 games left and so have little room for error in the remainder of the season.

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