Messi Shines as Inter Miami Defeats LAFC in MLS Playoff Race

In front of a star-studded audience at BMO Stadium, which included the likes of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Inter Miami delivered a Hollywood-worthy performance, toppling Los Angeles FC 3-1 on Sunday night.

Facundo Farias netted his debut goal for Inter Miami, and Lionel Messi provided two assists in the second half, making Inter Miami’s counter-attack too potent for the Black and Gold.

LAFC had their moments, but between Drake Callender’s crucial saves and Denis Bouanga’s missed opportunities on breakaways, Steve Cherundolo’s side couldn’t capitalize when it counted.

Jordi Alba scored his first MLS goal in a play masterfully orchestrated by Sergio Busquets and assisted by Messi. Callender was on track for a clean sheet until LAFC managed a late consolation goal from Ryan Hollinghead.

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Nonetheless, it’s a significant win for the Herons, as they now sit just eight points shy of a playoff spot with only nine matches left in the season. Their next challenge is against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, September 9th.

Farias gave a glimpse of how the team might approach the game against Kansas City, with Messi, Robert Taylor, Josef Martinez, and several other squad members set for international duty.

A unique aspect of MLS scheduling means teams play matches during FIFA international breaks, leaving Tata Martino with adjustments to make. He’ll at least have Callender between the posts, as his keeper won’t join the United States squad until after Miami’s upcoming match.

Martino has already showcased his adaptability, opting for a 5-3-2 formation in this match and effectively countering LAFC. Even when the Black and Gold started on the front foot, Miami managed to sit deep, regain control, and Farias eventually scored against the run of play.

Messi’s Magic Powers Inter Miami Past LAFC in Playoff Push

It’s a concerning setback for LAFC as the qualities that define them – Bouanga and Carlos Vela’s clinical finishing and their composure under pressure – were missing.

Facing Messi can be daunting, but this is a squad that currently boasts Giorgio Chiellini and also had Gareth Bale last season. LAFC is no stranger to pressure but faltered when up against Messi and Inter Miami.

If teams continue on this trajectory, not only will the Herons secure a playoff spot against the odds, but the MLS Cup could also be within their grasp.

With information from CBS 

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