Lionel Messi, 36, has scored a goal in four consecutive games since joining Inter Miami of Major League Soccer (MLS).
Miami won 5-4 in penalty kicks after a 4-4 draw in the round of 16 of the 2023 U.S.-Mexico League Cup against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium in Texas on Sunday (Sept. 7).
Messi was the star of Miami’s victory.
Messi opened the scoring six minutes into the match, his fourth straight game with a goal. Messi rattled the Dallas net with a direct left-footed shot after Jordi Alba, his former Barcelona teammate, sent him a pass down the left flank.
Miami was unable to capitalize on the momentum of the opening goal, giving up three straight goals to fall behind 1-3. Benjamin Cremazzi found the back of the net in the 20th minute of the second half, but a goal three minutes later left them still down by two goals.
Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi, right, embraces FC Dallas’ Alan Velasco after exchanging jerseys during the U.S. soccer Major League Soccer (MLS) Regis Cup round of 16 match at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, U.S., June 6, 2018. Messi scored the opening and equalizing goals in the sixth minute of the first leg and the 40th minute of the second leg, respectively, as Miami advanced to the quarterfinals with a 5-3 win in the ensuing penalty shootout.
In the 35th minute of the second half, Miami cut the deficit to one goal on an own goal by Marco Farfan. Five minutes later, Messi tied the game with a precise left-footed strike from a free kick. It was Messi’s second free kick goal of the tournament for Miami, following a free kick goal in the first leg of the Group Stage South opener against Cruz Azul (Mexico) on March 22.
Messi’s goal sent the match to penalty kicks. Messi was Miami’s No. 1 kicker and converted. From there, Miami converted on all five of their kicks, while Dallas’ No. 2 kicker, Paxcun Formical, missed the game-winner.
With his two goals on the day, Messi now has seven goals and one assist in four games for Miami, good for two offensive points per game.
Meanwhile, the tournament Messi is dominating is a cup competition between MLS and the Mexican league that was created in 2019. It hasn’t been played since due to the coronavirus pandemic, 고스톱 and this is the third time it has been held.