Messi scores on MLS debut as Inter Miami beat New York Red Bulls 2-0

It appears Lionel Messi is unstoppable in the United States. Making his Major League Soccer (MLS) debut, the Argentinian legend once again played a match winning role for Inter Miami, scoring in the 89th minute as his side secured a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. As a result, Miami effectively ended their 11-game league winless streak.

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Messi was brought on in the 60th minute, accompanied by former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets. Miami had taken the lead through a goal by Diego Gomez in the 37th minute, assisted by another former Barcelona player Jordi Alba. The match marked the debut of six Miami players in MLS.

Previously, Messi had failed to score in his La Liga and Ligue 1 debuts. There was considerable anticipation when the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner took a free kick from 21 yards in the 88th minute, but the defensive wall managed to block it.

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Following Miami’s control in midfield, Busquets delivered a cross to Alba within the penalty area. With his back to the ground and his left leg raised, Alba skilfully played the ball to Messi. Evading Peter Stroud, the latter made a precise pass between Andres Reyes and Daniel Edelman to reach Benjamin Cremaschi.

As goalkeeper Carlos Coronel moved to cover his near post, Cremaschi outmanoeuvred defender John Tolkin and instantly played the ball back to Messi. The Argentinian sprinted toward goal and played the ball off his left foot, securing a goal into the unguarded net from close range. This was Messi’s 11th goal in just nine games for Miami across all competitions.

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Messi’s inaugural appearance for Miami was during the Leagues Cup. He scored 10 goals in seven matches in that tournament, including a US Open Cup semifinal.

Before this win, Miami (6 wins, 14 losses, 3 draws) had not registered a league win since May 13 against New England. They managed just one road win on April 29 against Columbus. In contrast, New York’s record fell to 7-10-8.

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The initial goal for Miami unfolded when Alba took a free kick following a foul by Reyes. After Coronel punched the ball out, Robert Taylor played it wide to Noah Allen. Subsequently, the young defender executed a diagonal pass to Gomez, who deftly settled the ball with a touch and sent it inside the far post with a left-footed shot from approximately 14 yards.

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