The presence of Lionel Messi, the “God of Soccer,” is turning Inter Miami around.
Miami advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2023 North American League Cup with a 4-0 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday morning (ET) at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, USA.
This is Miami’s best run since the club’s inception. His presence is such that the term 먹튀검증 Messi effect” is not out of place. He started scoring goals against Cruz Azul in the group stage of the League Cup and hasn’t missed a game since, with eight goals and one assist in five matches.
Against Charlotte, Messi showed why he is Messi. Charlotte attacked the Miami goal from mid-range. The defense didn’t give them much space, but when they did, it put pressure on Messi’s quick dribbles.
Such was the case in the 33rd minute of the second half when it was 2-0. Picking up the ball in the center of midfield, Messi deftly broke the defense and passed to Finnish international midfielder Robert Taylor, who was cutting in from the left flank. As Taylor entered the left side of the penalty area, he attempted to play a low pass to Ecuador international Leonardo Campaña, who was coming into the center.
As Campagna tried to get to the ball, he felt the pressure and Charlotte defender Adilson Malanda kicked it out of play, deflecting it into the net for an own goal. Near Malanda was Campaña, as well as Messi, who was breaking in from the back, looking for the rebound. It was a strange thing not to be shaken.
In the 40th minute, Messi finally got his chance. Campagna got to the ball before the goalkeeper and crossed it to Messi, who was standing in the center of the box. Messi waved him on and he simply slotted it home with his left foot. It was a simple decision that made the four defenders around him look foolish.
The Messi effect led to improved decisions from his teammates. “Before Messi, Taylor had scored five goals in 53 MLS games. (Since Messi’s arrival) he’s scored four goals in five games,” said ESPN. It’s even more impressive considering he didn’t score a goal in the US Open Cup, an MLS Cup competition.
The team’s overall decision-making has also improved. Miami was averaging one goal per game. However, in Messi’s first five games, they scored 18 goals. They transformed into an offensive team that scored three goals per game.
Messi has also scored the most goals in cup competitions in a short period of time since turning pro. Including FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, his most goals in a cup competition is six in the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) in 2010-11. He’s setting a new record himself.
Sergio Busquets, who made the same choice to join Messi in Miami, also contributed with his experience. Sergio Busquets, who made the same choice as Messi to travel to Miami. So did Jordi Alba’s control of the defense.
“I’m happy to play with Messi again,” Busquets said. We know each other very well and I think we enjoy playing soccer together,” Busquets said, adding that he is happily adjusting to life in Miami.
Messi has also kept his goal-scoring potential alive. With eight goals, he is one ahead of second-place Bongokure Longwane (Minnesota United). Minnesota was eliminated in a 0-5 loss to Nashville, and Dennis Bowana (LA FC), who was third with six goals, also missed the top four. His teammate Taylor, who is sixth with four goals, is chasing.
Messi, who is making history in soccer’s newest continent, will next face Philadelphia Union on Saturday to see if he can make his presence felt by giving owner David Beckham his first title. Messi will need to be the difference maker for a team with a 2-1-1 record against the Union.
Philadelphia is an absolute powerhouse that finished first in the Eastern Conference last season and made it all the way to the playoff final, where they lost to LA FC on penalties. This season, they are in third place. That’s a big mountain to climb for last-place Miami.