On a scorching South Florida day, Lionel Messi, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and World Cup champion, led an electrifying show of football at the jam-packed DRV PNK Stadium. Messi scored twice in 22 minutes in his debut start for Inter Miami CF, effectively leading his new team to a 4-0 Leagues Cup victory over Atlanta United FC on Tuesday. Messi has three goals and an assist in just two games since making his Major League Soccer (MLS) debut, establishing an astounding pace for his new football journey.
An Impeccable Early Impact
Messi’s dominance in the early stages of the game set the tone for Inter Miami’s performance. He took advantage of a pass from teammate Sergio Busquets in the eighth minute, fired a shot that rebounded off the right post, and promptly tapped in his own rebound to score the game’s first goal. But the Argentine maestro wasn’t finished. Messi cleanly tapped away a pass from Robert Taylor in the 22nd minute, extending Miami’s advantage to 2-0. This was only the beginning of Messi’s magic on the pitch.
Messi’s Presence Amplifying Miami’s Overall Performance
The arrival of Messi at Inter Miami has clearly caused a ripple effect on the team’s overall performance. With Messi’s prowess commanding the attention of Atlanta’s defenders, gaps started to open up for other Miami players, particularly Robert Taylor. Capitalising on these opportunities, Taylor netted a goal in the 44th minute and followed up with another one in the 53rd minute, with Messi playing the role of provider. In just two games, Messi’s influence has translated into two wins for Inter Miami, a stark contrast to their form before his arrival.
The Influence of Messi Mania
In addition to his efforts on the pitch, Messi’s arrival has created a buzz around Inter Miami and American soccer in general. During the game, the phenomenon of Messi Mania was tangible, with fans all over the world glued to their screens, witnessing the worldwide superstar transform the landscape of soccer in the United States. The fans rose for a standing ovation when Messi exited the pitch in the 78th minute, emphasising the Argentine maestro’s tremendous popularity and influence. His presence caused over-enthusiasm in one fan, who ran towards Miami’s bench before being hauled away by security.
The Unstoppable Messi and Inter Miami
Inter Miami, now fueled by Messi’s undeniable talent, is set to fight in the Leagues Cup round of 32. Their next match is scheduled for August 2, and prospective opponents include MLS clubs Orlando and Houston, as well as Liga MX team Santos Laguna. Messi’s arrival has certainly spurred a resurgence for Inter Miami, who had previously finished last in the MLS rankings. Inter Miami appears invincible right now, thanks to the Messi effect.
A New Era of Soccer in the United States
The arrival of Lionel Messi in MLS has undoubtedly heralded a new era for American soccer. His performance, both in terms of goals and influence on the pitch, has already had a significant impact on the fortunes of Inter Miami, turning them from a struggling team into a formidable opponent. As Messi continues his journey in American soccer, fans across the globe wait in anticipation for what the Argentine genius will do next.