Lionel Messi Shines Again As Inter Miami Pick Up 3-1 MLS Win At LAFC

Inter Miami Star Lionel Messi Is The Most Valuable Player In MLS
Inter Miami Star Lionel Messi Is The Most Valuable Player In MLS

Inter Miami are on a roll. Courtesy of their impressive 3-1 victory over 2022 MLS Cup winners Los Angeles FC (LAFC) on Sunday (September 3), the Herons have extended their unbeaten run to a whopping 11 games across competitions. Unsurprisingly, their talisman, Lionel Messi, was once again at the heart of it all. The win over the third-placed team in the Western Conference has not yet helped Miami climb the Eastern Conference rankings (still 14th), but it will undoubtedly give their morale a sizable boost.

Inter Miami were all over LAFC in the opening minutes

Following their goalless draw with Nashville on Wednesday (August 30), the Vice City needed a positive result to remain in the running for an MLS Cup play-off spot. And that eagerness shone through in their clash with LAFC at the BMO Stadium. They played with intensity from the first blast of the whistle, putting their noses in front just 14 minutes into the game.

Argentine center-back Toto Aviles played a speculative through ball down the right-hand channel, which his compatriot Facundo Farias chased down and guided into the far-bottom corner. It was not a pretty finish, but he certainly did enough the catch the goalkeeper off-guard.

Lionel Messi magic helped Miami extend their lead

The goal gave Inter Miami an advantage over the reigning MLS Cup champions and they continued pushing for the second for the remainder of the first half. The goal, however, did not arrive until Messi took matters into his own hands in the second half. In the 51st minute, the Argentina icon received the ball in midfield and played a sublime, defense-piercing through ball for his friend Jordi Alba, who barged into the box from the left flank. Bringing Messi’s ball under control, the Spaniard applied a left-footed finish to find the back of the LAFC net.

Messi’s creative prowess once again came to the fore in the 83rd minute, when he assisted Leonardo Campana for Miami’s third goal of the night. He capitalized on a defensive mistake from LAFC, charged at goal, and finally slipped Campana through with a delicate pass. Campana positioned his body to hit the ball first-time and effortlessly found the back of the net. Ryan Hollingshead scored for LAFC in the 90th minute, but it was nothing more than a consolation at that point.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was easily Inter Miami’s best player on the night, pulling strings in the middle of the park. He completed 35 of 41 passes, created three chances, completed two dribbles, played six passes into the final third, and won six ground duels. If he keeps this up, Inter Miami can practically dream of finishing inside the top nine and contend for the MLS Cup this season.

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