Lionel Messi has showcased his mastery in some of soccer’s most prestigious leagues, and he made a remarkable debut in Major League Soccer.
During a match where Inter Miami led the New York Red Bulls 1-0, Messi entered as a substitute in the 60th minute for his first appearance in the MLS regular season. He provided an impressive display, scoring a goal just before stoppage time. With finesse, Messi executed a beautiful assist and skillfully received a return pass for an easy tap-in goal, extending his team’s lead and ensuring the victory.
In his brief time with Inter Miami CF, Messi has ignited the team’s performance, participating not only in non-league matches but also guiding the club to victory in the Leagues Cup earlier this month. This championship marks Inter Miami’s first since its establishment by David Beckham in 2020. Messi, the Argentinian superstar, netted an impressive 10 goals in the tournament and claimed the best player award.
Although Inter Miami began the evening at the bottom of the MLS standings, this win represents a crucial step towards securing a playoff spot.
What lies ahead for Lionel Messi’s next appearance? While there hasn’t been an official announcement regarding Messi’s participation in Inter Miami’s upcoming match, the next opportunity for him to play will likely be a rematch for the Leagues Cup title. Inter Miami is scheduled to host Nashville SC on Wednesday, August 30th, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Final Score and Highlights of Inter Miami vs. New York Red Bulls: Inter Miami secured a 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls. Lionel Messi scored the second goal for Miami, while Diego Gomez scored the first.
Inter Miami’s Standing in the MLS: The win over the New York Red Bulls has lifted Inter Miami from the last position in the MLS standings. The victory has propelled the club to 14th place in the Eastern Conference, accumulating 21 points in the regular season. Toronto FC and the Colorado Rapids are currently tied with the lowest points in the MLS, both at 19.
Quest for a Playoff Spot: To qualify for the playoffs, the top nine teams from each conference secure a spot. Inter Miami faces the challenge of climbing the standings, as they are 11 points behind the ninth-placed Chicago Fire FC.
Lionel Messi’s Goal Tally: With his recent goal, Messi has now scored in eight out of nine games with Inter Miami. He has a total of 11 goals and six assists since joining the new club.
Continued Magic of Messi: Messi’s exceptional talent was evident once again. After a missed set piece, Messi positioned himself within the penalty area and delivered an exquisite pass to Benjamin Cremaschi. Cremaschi promptly returned the pass, allowing Messi to score his first official MLS goal in the 89th minute, concluding a flawless night for Inter Miami.
Celebration in Times Square: The match was broadcasted live in Times Square, where spectators gathered to witness Messi’s first MLS regular season appearance. The crowd erupted in celebration as soon as he found the net.
Set Piece and Defensive Play: Messi was positioned perfectly for a set piece opportunity in the 86th minute, but New York’s Jorge Cabezas had no choice but to foul him, resulting in a yellow card. Despite taking the set piece, Messi’s shot hit the defensive wall.
Challenges in Offense: Expectations were high for Messi’s impact upon entering the match, but creating scoring opportunities proved challenging. Despite several touches by Messi, including within the penalty area, both he and his teammates struggled to establish an effective rhythm. Nonetheless, Inter Miami maintained a 1-0 lead, and New York failed to convert their shots.
Substitution Strategy: Approximately 10 minutes after Messi’s entry, Coach Martino made another substitution, introducing Benjamin Cremaschi for Facundo Farías.
Messi’s Debut as a Substitute: Fans eagerly paid to witness Messi’s debut in the MLS regular season, and their patience was rewarded. Messi entered the match in the 60th minute, replacing Leonardo Campana. At the time of his substitution, Inter Miami enjoyed a 1-0 lead. Additionally, Sergio Busquets and DeAndre Yedlin entered the field, replacing David Ruíz and Robert Taylor.
New York Red Bulls Intensify Offensive Moves: The second half commenced without any goals from the New York Red Bulls, yet the team managed to create numerous opportunities. Inter Miami’s defensive performance appeared somewhat disjointed. Despite this, Miami’s goalkeeper, Drake Callender, demonstrated exceptional skills, blocking shots from Andrés Reyes, Daniel Edelman, and Tom Barlow.
Messi Prepares to Enter: Although Messi did not start the second half, he commenced warm-up routines, hinting at a potential substitution during the half.
Alterations in the Second Half: New York initiated changes to their lineup at the start of the second half, with Peter Stroud replacing Dru Yearwood and Tom Barlow stepping in for Elias Manoel.
Halftime Score: As the first half concluded, Diego Gómez’s goal was the pivotal factor, granting Inter Miami a 1-0 lead as both teams headed to the locker rooms. During this half, Inter Miami retained 55% of the possession and took three shots, whereas the New York Red Bulls attempted five shots, none of which found the target.
VAR Disallows a Penalty for NY Red Bulls: Initially, it appeared that New York might secure a penalty after a handball was detected on David Ruíz within the penalty area. However, the play underwent a VAR review, revealing that the ball had struck his shoulder. Consequently, the penalty was revoked, extinguishing the Red Bulls’ chance to level the score.
Diego Gómez Secures the Lead: Following a missed opportunity by the Red Bulls, Inter Miami capitalized on their chance. A perfectly executed cross from Noah Allen found Diego Gómez in an ideal position inside the box. Gómez expertly struck the ball into the bottom right corner of the net, securing the lead for Inter Miami in the 37th minute. Notably, Gómez came close to scoring a second goal shortly after, attempting an acrobatic left-footed shot in the box, only to be thwarted by goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.
Yellow Cards and Set Pieces: Both teams incurred early fouls, resulting in yellow cards. The Red Bulls’ Cameron Harper received a yellow card for a foul that led to an Inter Miami set piece. In the 20th minute, Tomás Avilés earned a yellow card for a robust challenge. New York was awarded a set piece just outside the penalty area, but their attempt was blocked by the Miami wall.
Inter Miami’s Control of Possession: More than 12 minutes into the match, Inter Miami dominated possession. Although neither team had managed a shot on target at that point, Jordi Alba came close to unleashing a shot within the box.
Kickoff and Messi’s Status: The game kicked off at Red Bull Arena. Notably, Lionel Messi was not included in the starting lineup, signaling his