‘Four goals in four games’…Messi ‘proves class’ in MLS → No. 1 Iguodala also on the attack
With Lionel Messi proving why Inter Miami signed him after just four games, all eyes will be on how far he can move up the club’s all-time scoring list over the coming season.
Inter Miami advanced to the quarterfinals of the League Cup with a penalty shootout victory over FC Dallas on Sunday (Sept. 7) at Toyota Stadium in Texas, U.S., thanks to a two-goal performance from Messi.
The match was highlighted by the fact that Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba all started for Miami. The visitors lined up in a 4-3-3 with Drake Calderon in goal and Jordi Alba, Kamal Miller, Sergey Krivtsov, and DeAndre Yedlin in defense. Diego Gomes, Sergio Busquets, and Dixon Arroyo made up the midfield, with Robert Taylor and Josef Martinez looking to score alongside Messi.
Messi, who started on the right wing, opened the scoring in the sixth minute, finishing a cutback pass from Alba with his left foot from the front of the arc. Immediately after the goal, the assistant referee raised his flag for offside, but video assistant referee (VAR) review confirmed that he was not offside and the goal was awarded.
Some Argentine media outlets praised Messi’s form, noting that the goal was similar to those he scored in his Barcelona heyday.
But Dallas fought back fiercely. In the 37th minute, Quennon finished a cross from the left flank with a left-footed volley. Just before halftime, Camungo pulled one back with a fantastic dribble that beat the keeper.
In the 18th minute of the second half, Dallas took a 3-1 lead when Velasco’s free kick deflected off a defender and into the back of the net. Miami pulled within a goal in the 20th minute when Alba centered a pass from Messi and substitute Benjamin Cremaschi slotted it home. But three minutes later, an own goal by Robert Taylor gave Dallas a two-goal lead again at 4-2.
Miami’s comeback started with Messi again. In the 35th minute, Farfan headed a Messi free kick into the Dallas goal. After the self-induced goal, Messi tied the game at 4-4 five minutes later on a direct free kick with a precise left-footed strike into the top corner of the net.
Unable to settle the score in regulation time, the teams headed to penalty kicks, which started with Miami on the front foot. Messi stepped up to take the first kick and converted cleanly, while Dallas’ Paul Arriola rattled the net.
The second kick proved to be the difference. Miami Busquets converted, while Paxton Pomikal’s shot sailed wide of the post. After the third and fourth kicks were successful, Miami’s final kicker, Kremasic, found the back of the net to seal the win for Miami.
With his multi-goal performance, Messi has now scored multiple goals in all three of his starts since joining Miami. Messi has seven goals and one assist in four official games, and Miami is undefeated in those games.
Messi immediately etched his name in Miami history. With seven goals, Messi has moved into fourth place on Inter’s all-time scoring list. The current number one is Gonzalo Higuain, who played for Miami from 2020 to 2022. He totaled 29 goals in those two seasons.
In second place is Leonardo Campana, who currently plays for Miami and has scored 16 goals. Robert Taylor is third with eight goals. Messi is tied for fourth with seven goals, along with Josef Martinez, Lewis Morgan, and Rodolfo Pizarro. If his current scoring form continues, he shouldn’t have any trouble moving into second place before the end of the season.
With his goal in this game, Messi has now scored 20 or more goals in 17 consecutive years. Messi has scored over 20 goals in each of his last three seasons, from 2007 to 2023, proving that he is still capable of scoring despite his age.
Meanwhile, if Messi maintains this scoring pace, the possibility of him winning the MLS scoring title, which some outlets initially suggested, is a real possibility.
Forbes, an American business magazine, reported on Messi’s performance and claimed that he could win the award. “Messi lived up to all expectations, scoring three goals and adding an assist in less than two hours of playing time. He may not be as durable or cover as much ground as he did in his 20s, but the technical ability that made him one of the most controversial players of all time hasn’t waned,” Forbes wrote, praising Messi’s still-excellent skills.
“There are only 12 games left in the league, but if things go right, I think he can do even more. It may sound far-fetched, but if Messi continues his goal rate from the first two games at a similar pace, he could close the 13-goal gap at the top. It’s not a sure thing, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility,” he said, noting that Messi could catch up to Hani Mukhtar, who leads the league with 13 goals despite not scoring in the league yet. 먹튀검증
In fact, Messi has been in even better form since Forbes’ prediction, scoring four goals in his last two games, so if he averages two goals per game over the remaining 12 games, he could easily win the title.
With Messi’s scoring pace already cementing his place in Miami’s franchise history after just four games, it will be interesting to see how he performs in the remaining games.