Monday, 20 May, 2024


Messi goal, assist help Inter Miami win over Sporting KC

Sports Desk |
Update: 2024-04-14 13:05:40
Messi goal, assist help Inter Miami win over Sporting KC photo collected

Soccer legend Lionel Messi met Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes before the game, then shined on the same field Mahomes does every home game in the NFL.

Messi scored a goal early in the second half and assisted another in the first half en route to a thrilling 3-2 victory for Inter Miami over Sporting KC on Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Instead of Mahomes, Messi was the biggest star in Kansas City, delivering in front of a reported crowd of 72,610 – the most-attended soccer match in state of Missouri and the third-most attended MLS game in history.

“This was incredible, great environment, fans were tremendous,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes told reporters after the game despite the loss.

Messi got his first start in an MLS game since March 2 and played the distance in his third game back from a right hamstring injury with Mahomes, a Sporting KC co-owner, and Chiefs coach Andy Reid in attendance.

Messi’s goal six minutes into the second half was dynamic. He found himself in a rare opportunity of open space without any defenders around him, squaring up with his legendary left boot to soar a kick over the outreached hands of Sporting KC goalie Tim Melia to give Inter Miami a 2-1 lead.

Messi’s assist in the first half was just as special: He saw teammate Diego Gomez making his move in the open field and delivered a pass behind the defense – just like Mahomes finds star tight end Travis Kelce behind linebackers in coverage on the same field.

Although Sporting KC’s Erik Thommy opened the scoring in the sixth minute and tied the match at 2 in the 58th minute, it was Gomez who stole a ball on the left side and delivered a cross to Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez in the 71st minute to retake the lead.

Gomez was the key to the match, delivering with his goal and assist to propel Inter Miami to its first outright win since March 16. The club has also retaken the lead with 15 points (and tiebreaker over New York Red Bulls) in the MLS Eastern Conference.

“The reality is it was essential to win tonight's game. Also, to recover a little bit that feeling that the team can win,” Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said, referencing the club’s losing effort against LIGA MX side Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions Cup earlier this week.

Fans were largely clad in Sporting KC blue, but all eyes were on Messi during the match as expected. The World Cup champion is the biggest draw in the game – especially in the twilight of his storied career.

Two fans, including a young boy who was cheered loudly, ran onto the field during play for a chance to stand beside Messi. The other, a man, was tackled by Messi’s bodyguard Yassine Chueko in the second half.

Source: USA Today

BDST: 1302 HRS, APR 14, 2024

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