Within the span of a mere month as a part of Inter Miami, the iconic Argentine figure Lionel Messi has already propelled his team towards uncharted heights.
With a resounding 4-1 triumph over Philadelphia Union on Tuesday, Miami surged into the final of the CONCACAF Leagues Cup, positioning themselves favorably to secure their inaugural trophy after four seasons of competitive play.
David Beckham elucidated that Messi’s presence at Inter Miami is underpinned by a dual objective: to clinch victories and to kindle inspiration amongst the forthcoming generation of soccer talents in the United States.
Notably, Messi’s netbuster against Philadelphia marked his ninth goal in just half a dozen matches following his integration with Inter, securing his prominence atop the Leagues Cup’s scoring leaderboard.
A mere few weeks since his incorporation into Inter Miami, Messi has already etched his name into the third slot of the club’s historical list of highest goal-scorers, with a mere 20-goal gap separating him from fellow countryman Gonzalo Higuain at the zenith.
Following an initial score by Josef Martinez for Miami, Messi elegantly placed a goal into the net in the 20th minute, launching a low-powered projectile from a distance of over 30 yards. His precision-shot eluded the extended grasp of Union’s keeper Andre Blake, ricocheting off the right post before nestling into the goal.
The seasoned Spanish campaigner Jordi Alba augmented Miami’s lead with a third goal just prior to halftime, a triumphant moment that marked his first goal in the four appearances since his recent induction into Inter. However, Alejandro Bedoya managed to retrieve a goal for Philadelphia, narrowing the gap with 17 minutes remaining.
Effectively extinguishing any hopes of a late resurgence from Philadelphia Union, David Ruiz expertly slotted a fourth goal for Miami in the 84th minute.
In the parallel Leagues Cup semifinal on the same Tuesday, Nashville SC secured a decisive 2-0 victory over Monterrey, thereby arranging a climactic finale against Miami.
The ultimate fate of the trophy will be sealed as the two teams lock horns on August 19 in Nashville, Tennessee.
This iteration of the Leagues Cup, a yearly tournament bridging MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX, has witnessed an expansion this year to encompass the entirety of teams in each league, showcasing a robust soccer spectacle.