Messi Scores to Secure Inter Miami’s Win on MLS Debut

Lionel Messi made a remarkable MLS debut, coming off the bench to score for Inter Miami against the New York Red Bulls.

Miami’s manager, Gerardo Martino, decided to rest Messi for the game at the Red Bull Arena but introduced the Argentine forward in the 60th minute, marking his first appearance in Major League Soccer.

Diego Gomez had already given Miami the lead in the first half, and Messi sealed the 2-0 victory in the 89th minute with his 11th goal in nine games since joining from Paris SaintGermain.

Reacting to the enthusiastic response from the sold-out crowd of 26,276 fans witnessing Messi’s league debut, teammate Kamal Miller commented, “I often find myself just watching him instead of focusing on my assignment. It’s tough to stay concentrated when you have such a great presence. It’s pretty surreal to see. He’s probably the only man in the world who can command that kind of respect and reception in every stadium he visits.”

The chemistry between the former Barcelona trio, Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba, was also on display. Miller added, “It’s second nature to them now. They don’t even have to think about where the others will be. They know where each other wants the ball.”

Inter Miami, fresh from their Leagues Cup victory earlier this month and their U.S. Open Cup semi-final win last Thursday, secured their first league victory since May 14. This win lifted Martino’s team off the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Following another stellar performance by Messi, defender DeAndre Yedlin marveled at the impact of his South American colleague once again, saying, “It surprises me and it doesn’t. It surprises me because it’s just unbelievable to witness, but it doesn’t surprise me because I’ve seen it. When we found out he wouldn’t be starting, I expected there would be a few disappointed fans. But if I were a kid or a fan attending the game, I would want to see the greatest player to ever grace the sport, so I can’t blame them.”

Messi and his teammates will now return to Florida before hosting Nashville on Wednesday night.