Inter Miami CF crushes Real Salt Lake in MLS season opener thanks to Lionel Messi

Web Desk
February 22, 2024

Lionel Messi has appeared in six Major League Soccer matches in 2023 but scored only once

Inter Miami CF midfielder Diego Gomez (20) reacts with forward Lionel Messi (10) after scoring a goal against Real Salt Lake during the second half at Chase Stadium inFort Lauderdale, Florida, US onFebruary 21, 2024. — Reuters

David Beckham’s Inter Miami secured a 2-0 victory in Major League Soccer's (MLS) season opener against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, thanks to Lionel Messi setting up both goals.

Robert Taylor scored in the first half, and Diego Gomez added another in the second for Miami, ESPN reported.

Midway through the first half, Messi nearly gave the sold-out crowd what they came for with a goal from a free kick and then another from a corner kick.

"I think the eyes of the world are on Inter Miami, and I'm hoping that they're able to deliver on that and whatever expectations people have," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who attended Wednesday's match.

He added: "Mostly, I'd just like his experience to be good, the experience of the team to be successful, how they're positioned both here in the league but also around the world. That's the story that I think is most important to us."

Messi scored 11 goals in 14 matches with Inter Miami last season, leading the team to a Leagues Cup championship which was its first-ever trophy.

He signed a two-and-a-half-year contract worth around $150 million, and appeared in six MLS matches in 2023, scoring once.

Injuries slowed him late in the season, resulting in Miami not making the MLS playoffs.

In Wednesday's face-off against Salt Lake, Messi assisted on the first goal and set up Luis Suarez, who set up Gómez's goal.

"I'm so happy," Suarez said after the match in which his new team looked every bit like a contender.


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