Messi Scores in 6 Consecutive Matches to Lead Inter Miami to Leagues Cup Final

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

Six matches, nine goals, one appearance in the final. Lionel Messi continues to amaze, Tuesday night seeing Inter Miami CF secure a 4-1 victory against Philadelphia Union in the Leagues Cup semifinal at Subaru Park.

First-half goals from Messi, Josef Martínez, and Jordi Alba secured an unstoppable lead for the visiting team as Miami advanced to the inaugural Leagues Cup final, winning all their matches since Argentina’s World Cup champion joined the club in July.

Gerardo Martino’s team will face the winner of the last Liga MX interclub semifinal between Monterrey and Nashville SC in the final this coming Saturday.

For opposing manager Jim Curtin, it’s more disappointment, with Union losing in penalty shootout in last year’s MLS Cup final, getting eliminated in the CONCACAF Champions League 2023 semi-finals, and losing in the 2021 MLS Eastern Conference final.

“It takes a complete team effort to have a chance against a team like Miami,” Curtin said after the match. “The first 20-30 minutes, we made too many mistakes, and they punished us. It wasn’t us in the first half, but they are very good.

It’s tough to lose and concede four goals, that part is painful. It doesn’t feel normal leaving the field after conceding four goals.

As Miami has done throughout the Leagues Cup, they scored early and never looked back, with Martinez netting just after kick-off, marking the fifth time they scored within the opening 15 minutes of a Leagues Cup match.

Then, Messi extended Miami’s lead with his second career long-range goal, fooling Union goalkeeper Andre Blake with a low, powerful shot from over 30 meters for his ninth Leagues Cup goal.

With Union, who had not lost at home all season, trying to head into halftime two goals down, Alba netted Miami’s third. The former Barcelona star slipped behind the defense and calmly converted a through-ball from Robert Taylor past Blake to make it 3-0.

Chris Donovan missed a wide-open chance to score for Philly and then saw his header toward goal saved by Miami’s goalkeeper, Drake Callender, early in the second half as the hosts unsuccessfully tried to get back into the game.

Alejandro Bedoya managed to score one goal for the hosts in the second half, but substitute David Ruiz netted Miami’s fourth, ending any unlikely comeback chances for Curtin’s team.

Since Messi’s arrival in Miami, the team has scored 21 goals in six games, with four goals in four of those matches. Previously, they had managed only 22 goals in 22 MLS matches.

“The atmosphere in the stadium was incredible, a great vibe. Were there a lot of pink colors? Of course,” Curtin said.

To produce as he repeatedly does when he doesn’t have to, he’s a winner.

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