Lionel Messi’s storied Major League Soccer (MLS) life has not started officially but the World Cup winner continues making the headlines as he powers Inter Miami CF into yet another grand finale.
Messi continued his exploits with two wonderful assists that gave Inter Miami a respectable 3-3 draw against much-fancied FC Cincinnati at the TQL Stadium during the US Open semifinal clash. Miami went on to win the tie via a penalty shootout (5-4) to set up a grand finale with Houston Dynamo FC on September 27.
Life in the MLS was proven to be very difficult for Inter Miami prior to Messi’s arrival but since the Argentine touched down in Miami, the bottom club in the MLS have been on the ascendancy as they lifted the Leagues Cup trophy and booked a US Open final ticket as well. Miami are now eight games unbeaten since the arrival of Lionel Messi in July. They have won six matches and drawn two and even with the two drawn games, they went on to secure victory via penalty-kicks.
The game started horribly for Miami as Cincinnati scored two early goals through captain Luciano Acosta at the 18th-minute mark and striker Brandon Vazquez after the 53rd minute. But Messi provided two assists in the second half for Leonardo Campana’s two headed goals in the 68th minute and during time added on to force the game into extra time.
Miami went ahead to score what looked like a winner in the first half of the extra time when Josef Martínez beat goalkeeper Alec Kann. But Cincy substitute Yuya Kubo equalized to send the game into penalty shootouts.
So far, Messi has been involved in 13 goals through his first eight Inter Miami games, scoring 10 and providing three assists. Inter Miami will have another shot at another trophy come September 27 when they lock horns with Houston Dynamo who defeated Real Salt Lake 3-1 in the other semifinal clash.