Argentina ended up beating El Salvador, but they did it without their best player.
Lionel Messi was forced out of the game because his foot contusion was too much of a problem for that match. He didn't play one single minute in the friendly against El Salvador in Washington on Saturday, and he watched from the sidelines as his teammates had lots of difficulties trying to break the barrier set up by the opponent. It almost looked like a Barcelona match against a weaker adversary, only this time they didn't have Messi there to help break the ice. Javier Mascherano also didn't enter the game, as the midfielder himself wanted some time off from the marathon of matches he played for Barcelona before last night.
Messi's absence was almost a surprise, since Leo himself vowed to play through pain, but the pain was just too big. Argentina coach Tata Martino later confirmed that Messi couldn't appear because he had some swelling in his foot, and they decided to be cautious and preserve the world's best player.
Without Leo and Mascherano, Argentina found the net only twice, with Banega and Mancuello finishing as the scorers. It wasn't pretty, but the Albiceleste got the W, which is an important boost of confidence as the team gets closer to the Copa América.
Argentina returns to the pitch on Tuesday against Ecuador, and there's still no confirmation of Messi's presence.
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