Inter Miami, without Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, battled to a 1-1 draw at Orlando City in Major League Soccer on Sunday.
The result leaves Miami five points adrift of the last playoff spot with five games of their regular season campaign remaining.
Miami can win their second trophy of the Messi era on Wednesday when they look to add the U.S. Open Cup to the League Cup they won last month and with that goal in mind head coach Gerardo Martino took no risks with his line-up.
As well as Messi and Alba, both ruled out for fitness reasons, Martino opted to rest Spanish midfielder Busquets who had been ever-present since joining the club in July.
With homegrown youngsters Noah Allen and David Ruiz brought into the side, Miami fielded a line-up similar to the ones that had seen the team fall to the bottom of the Eastern Conference before Messi's arrival.
Orlando, second in the East and already assured of a playoff place, began the brighter and could have grabbed the lead in the 29th minute when striker Duncan McGuire found himself in space on the edge of the box but his shot was well saved by Drake Callender.
At the other end, in-form Ecuadorean striker Leonard Campana went close for Miami with a header from a corner which Orlando keeper Pedro Gallese got down well to.
Miami broke through in the 52nd minute when Campana fed Josef Martinez whose low shot was parried out but David Ruiz slid in the loose ball.
Callender did well again to keep out a curling left-footed effort from Martin Ojeda and then Orlando wasted another chance when Ivan Angulo found himself clear on goal but poked his shot wide.
But the home side finally got their reward in the 66th minute when a deflected pass fell into the path of McGuire who drilled a first-time shot through the legs of Callender.
Miami tired badly in the final stages as they hung on for a point.
"They are a very competitive team just like us and we just try to fight through and get the get the win," said Ruiz.
"Sadly we didn't get the result, but it's just another point to give us a hope to go to playoffs," he added.
"Obviously we didn't have players key players like Busi, Jordi and Messi, but we've been working every day hard to get a spot on the team and I mean you can see that in the game," he added.
After Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup final against the Houston Dynamo, Miami face one of their direct rivals for the playoffs -- New York City FC.
NYCFC moved above D.C. United into ninth place with a 3-0 win over Toronto FC on Sunday in a game re-arranged after Saturday's fixture was called off due to a broken water main at Red Bull Arena.
The win was crowned by a fine solo goal from Argentine forward Julian Fernandez.