La Galaxy 1-1 Inter Miami: Drake Callender & Lionel Messi Produce The Goods To Avoid MLS Defeat In California

MLS Lionel Messi Inter Miami
MLS Lionel Messi Inter Miami

The most glamorous team in Major League Soccer (MLS), Inter Miami, snatched a hard-fought draw in their Matchday 2 clash with LA Galaxy at the Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday night (February 25). Skipper Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Drake Callender were the game’s two standout performers, with the former scoring the equalizer and the latter making multiple stunning saves to keep his team in the game.

Inter Miami Star Drake Callender Frustrates Dominant LA Galaxy

Playing in front of their fans, LA Galaxy wasted no time taking the fight to Inter Miami. They hit the back of the net inside the opening minute, with Diego Fagundez curling it home from outside the box. Unfortunately for the home side, Riqui Puig fouled former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets shortly before the Uruguayan pulled the trigger, causing the goal to be disallowed.

In the 11th minute, Busquets was once again in the thick of things; only this time, the decision went against him. The Spanish defensive midfielder obstructed Joseph Paintsil’s dash from the right side, bringing him down inside the area. The referee unhesitantly pointed to the spot, ignoring the protests from the visitors.

Puig, who cost Fagundez his goal, stepped up to take the spot kick. He hit it hard and low, but Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender read his intentions and lunged to his left to keep it goalless. The midfielder tried to make amends with a mean outside-the-box curler in the 24th minute but was once again denied by Callender. The keeper lifted his attempt toward the bar, sending it out for a corner. The American goalkeeper ultimately conceded his clean sheet in the 75th minute, but he could do very little to prevent it.

The Inter Miami defenders not only allowed Puig to get his shot away from outside the area, but they also did not clear the ball after Callender kept it out. Puig’s rebound went straight to Marco Delgado, who rolled it across for an easy tap-in for Dejan Joveljic.

Callender made a whopping eight saves against LA Galaxy on Sunday. He also had seven recoveries and completed 18 passes (95% accuracy).

Lionel Messi Scores His First Goal Of 2024 MLS Season

Around 13 minutes after setting up Dejan Jovelic, Marco Delgado saw a second yellow for a poor foul. Playing with an extra man, Inter Miami courageously put bodies forward and eventually got their reward.

Leading a counter-attack, their skipper Lionel Messi played the ball to former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba, who was dashing into the box down the inside-left channel. Instinctively, Alba returned it to Messi, who, lurking in a central position, applied a first-time finish to beat LA Galaxy goalkeeper John McCarthy.

It marked Messi’s first goal of the 2024 MLS calendar after he claimed an assist in the season opener last week. Messi also completed 47 passes (81% accuracy), delivered six accurate long balls, and won five duels against Galaxy on Matchday 2.

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