Lionel Messi, the legendary footballer, finally made his long-awaited MLS debut in a game between Inter Miami and the New York Red Bulls. This game held great significance not only for Messi but also for Inter Miami, a team struggling to find its form in the league. Messi’s arrival in South Florida had brought a wave of excitement, with high expectations for his transformative impact on the team.
After an intense month of playing eight games, leading the team to victory in the Leagues Cup title and the U.S. Open Cup final, Messi was given a well-deserved rest in this league game. Watching from the substitute’s bench, he awaited his moment to step onto the pitch and show his brilliance.
In the 60th minute, Messi made his entrance to an electrifying reception from the crowd. This was the moment everyone had been waiting for. With limited time on the field, Messi showcased his exceptional vision and skill by setting up and finishing a goal in the 89th minute. The pass he played to Benjamin Cremaschi was nothing short of extraordinary, demonstrating his ability to see and execute plays that no one else could. The goal marked Messi’s 11th for Inter Miami, equaling his previous one as a substitute in his debut game against Cruz Azul.
The victory against the New York Red Bulls provided a much-needed boost for Inter Miami. The team had been struggling with an 11-game winless streak in the MLS, experiencing several defeats and only one road victory so far in the season. With the fewest points among all teams in the league, Miami faced a significant challenge to secure a spot in the playoffs. However, this win offered hope and renewed confidence in their ability to turn the season around.
Coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino proved his team’s resilience by demonstrating that they could prosper on the field even in Messi’s absence for an hour of the game. This tactical flexibility could prove to be a valuable asset, especially considering Messi’s upcoming commitments with the Argentina national team for the World Cup qualifying campaign. The knowledge that the team can still perform effectively without their star player brings a sense of relief and assurance for the challenges ahead.
For many fans eagerly anticipating Messi’s MLS debut, there was certainly initial disappointment at his absence from the starting lineup. The streets surrounding the stadium were packed with scalpers and people selling unlicensed Messi jerseys, reflecting the immense anticipation surrounding the game. However, the game provided an opportunity for Inter Miami’s young South American signings to shine. Players like Facundo Farías, Diego Gómez, and Tomás Avilés showcased their potential and proved that they are an integral part of the team’s summer squad overhaul.
As Messi started warming up on the sidelines at the beginning of the second half, the noise level inside the stadium intensified. This was the moment Miami had been waiting for since Messi’s decision to continue his career in the U.S. His presence on the field instilled confidence and composure in the team, allowing them to regain control of the game. Alongside fellow substitute Sergio Busquets, Messi’s late brilliance was the icing on the cake that completed a memorable and game-changing debut for Inter Miami.
Lionel Messi’s MLS debut marked a turning point for Inter Miami, bringing renewed hope and enthusiasm for the team and its fans. Messi’s impact was felt from the moment he stepped onto the field, with his exceptional skill and vision contributing to the team’s victory. Moreover, the game showcased the tactical flexibility of the team, proving that they can thrive even without their star player. While initial disappointment was inevitable for those expecting Messi to start, the game provided a platform for promising young talent to shine. With Messi now fully integrated into the team, the future looks bright for Inter Miami as they aim to secure a spot in the playoffs and continue their journey towards success in the MLS.