MLS: Messi comes off the bench and scores again for Miami

Messi comes off the bench and scores again for Miami

Inter Miami striker Lionel Messi photo

© George Walker IV/AP/dpa

For the first time since joining Inter Miami, Lionel Messi is not in the starting XI. He still makes his debut in Major League Soccer – and a memorable goal too.

Lionel Messi has not started for the first time since joining Inter Miami and still scored his eleventh goal in nine games for his new club. The world champions from Argentina scored their second goal in the 89th minute of a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer.

He also initiated the goal with strong ball control and a clever pass in the penalty area to the young Benjamin Cremaschi. Messi came on as a substitute in the 60th minute, and Sergio Busquets also came off the bench and made his MLS debut.

The game was also Messi’s first appearance in the North American professional league, the 36-year-old has won all games with Miami so far. The previous games were all in cup competitions. He won the first edition of the Leagues Cup with Miami and secured the team’s first title. Inter Miami recently reached the final of the US Open Cup.

Several thousand dollars for the best seats

Messi’s MLS debut was eagerly awaited by fans and media alike. US media reported that the cheapest tickets for the Miami-New York game on the secondary market two hours before kick-off were $470 (€435) and several thousand dollars for the best seats. Apple TV, which became MLS rights holder this season, also showed the game on giant LED screens in the famous Times Square.

The achievements since Messi’s arrival contrast with Miami’s situation in Major League Soccer. The team was bottom of the Eastern Conference before the game against New York, had gone 11 MLS unbeaten runs and was 14 points off the playoff spots. Due to the success, Miami overtook Toronto. Because Messi did not speak to reporters afterwards, he broke one of the rules in MLS. A representative of the league had said beforehand that Messi, like all other players, would have to speak to the media after the game if necessary.


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