In the 86th minute, Messi scored his eighth goal in just five games since joining his new club. The Leagues Cup quarterfinal showcased Inter Miami’s dominance as they sailed past Charlotte with a convincing victory.
Messi’s streak of scoring goals remains unbroken, and so does Inter Miami’s series of wins. With this latest goal, Messi has found the net in all five matches he has played for Miami. The legendary seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, who led Argentina to World Cup victory last year, has yet to experience a defeat with Miami. They have emerged victorious in all five of their matches in the Leagues Cup, a competition that includes 47 teams from both MLS and Mexico’s top league. This achievement has propelled them to the semifinals of the tournament.
Messi and his new team are now preparing for a semifinal match on Tuesday, where they will face either Mexican club Queretaro or the Philadelphia Union.
h Charlotte nearly prevented Messi from scoring, his impact remained strong. Inter Miami’s Josef Martinez and Robert Thomas also contributed with goals. An own goal, brought about by Messi’s relentless pressure in the second half, added to Inter Miami’s tally. Finally, Messi himself sealed the victory in the closing moments.
Despite significant competition in South Florida’s sports scene that evening, Inter Miami fans filled the 22,000-seat DRV PNK Stadium. The presence of Messi, wearing the iconic pink No. 10 jersey, continued to captivate the crowd. These fans left the stadium with smiles, a contrast to the team’s pre-Messi era struggles.
Before Messi’s arrival, Inter Miami had managed to secure only five victories out of 22 MLS matches this season. Since Messi’s addition, they have achieved a perfect record in the Leagues Cup, winning all five of their matches and positioning themselves just two wins away from claiming the trophy.
During the match, Messi had a notable chance in the 30th minute, with some clever passes setting up an opportunity from 6 yards out. However, his shot was saved by Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina. This save preserved Charlotte’s 1-0 lead at the time.
Despite a couple of missed opportunities, Messi’s presence was felt throughout the game. Inter Miami’s opening goal came in the 12th minute from Martinez, who converted a penalty kick following a foul on Dixon Arroyo inside the box. The score extended to 2-0 in the 32nd minute, as Taylor capitalized on a pass from DeAndre Yedlin, placing a well-timed one-timer that deflected off Kahlina’s hand.
Inter Miami’s impressive performance with Messi on board has turned their season around, and the team is now eagerly anticipating their next challenge in the semifinals of the Leagues Cup.