Bold Prediction: Lionel Messi (and Argentina) vs Bolivia

Lionel Messi and Argentina bring their talents to South of Downtown tonight in Copa America Centenario action.

The excitement in Soccer City, USA is palpable. Hell, I don’t even know if Messi will log serious minutes tonight, it’s rumored he’ll play, but possibly not start, but Argentina is more than Messi. They are the #1 team in the world right now and playing like it.

My wife and I bought the full 3-match pack for Seattle’s tournament slate with Messi in mind. Very rarely do you get a chance to see such an athlete perform live. David Foster Wallace said, “To be a top athlete, performing, is to be that exquisite hybrid of animal and angel that we average unbeautiful watchers have such a hard time seeing in ourselves.” I’ve seen some live games from “the greats” (Abby Wambach, Iverson, Dempsey, Larry Fitzgerald, Cliff Lee) and I’ve seen some angelic performances that will go in no record books (Yohance Humphrey for Chugiak High School). I am hoping that even a limited Messi can etch a mark on my list. I very much want to be able to say, “I saw him when…”

Bold Prediction: My money is on Messi starting, but coming off once the game is clearly in hand, maybe by halftime. He displayed little rust with his hatter against Panama, but Messi still needs to round into 90 minutes fitness. And Argentina still wants to secure pole position in Group D, so we’ll most definitely see Messi tonight.

Sadly, Argentina will be without another star, as Angel Di Maria will probably not play. He picked up an abductor strain. La Albiceleste clearly don’t need him to dispatch the 82nd ranked team in the world.

Argentina 3-0. No Di Maria and a limited Messi keep this game from being too lopsided, but I’m taking the chalk.

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