The world waited 94 minutes last Friday for Lionel Messi to score his first goal for Inter Miami of Major League Soccer (MLS). In Tuesday’s Leagues Cup match against Atlanta United, he scored twice in the first 22 minutes.
Making his first start for Miami, Messi took a pass from teammate Sergio Busquets, surged forward and sent a strike off the right post before tapping in his own rebound in the eighth minute. Then, in the 22nd minute, Messi put Miami ahead 2-0 off a pass from Robert Taylor.
Messi’s short time with Miami has been nothing short of spectacular. He came off the bench in the 54th minute in his debut last week and delivered a moment fans had hoped for when the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and World Cup champion decided to take his talents to MLS.
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HE’S DONE IT AGAIN.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 25, 2023
GO OFF, LEO MESSI.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 26, 2023
In the 94th minute against Mexico’s Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup, Messi converted a game-winning free kick in front of a crowd estimated at 21,000. “He’s the best player in the world. This is what he does,” said Robert Taylor, who also scored two goals with a brace of his own – Messi assisting one of them and sparking the other. “It’s a dream come true to play with him.”
Messi and Taylor, the 28-year-old Finnish national standout, have shown incredible chemistry in their two games – accounting for three goals each during Inter Miami’s first two Leagues Cup games.
“I think everyone sees what he does. He can do everything on the ball. He makes the right decisions 100 percent of the time,” Taylor said in a postgame interview on Apple TV. “He brings so much quality to the team – so much.”
Messi’s next Inter Miami game will occur during the Round of 32 play in Leagues Cup, which begins August 2 to 4. They will face the winner Orlando City, Houston or Santos Laguna on August 2.
Messi also achieved another record, scoring against the 100th different club in his illustrious career. His second goal against Atlanta became the most-watched event in US with over 3.4 billion tuning in around the world.