Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
Lionel Messi’s start to life in the US has been perfect so far. On Sunday, he scored twice as Inter Miami moved on to the Leagues Cup quarterfinals after a penalty shootout.
Messi opened the scoring with a goal that was typical of him. The 36-year-old Argentine curled the ball in from the edge of the box after linking up with Jordi Alba, who used to play with him at Barcelona.
FC Dallas scored three goals in a short amount of time to tie the game.
With 10 minutes left, Miami was down 4-2 after both teams scored. An own goal and Messi’s beautiful curling free kick from just outside the penalty area tied the game at 4-4.
With a spot in the final eight on the line, the 2022 World Cup winner did something magical to force a penalty shootout.
Messi stepped up again and calmly put away his penalty, while 18-year-old Benjamin Cremaschi put away his penalty to give Inter Miami a 5-3 win.
His two goals have shown Messi’s good form since moving to Florida. In his last three games, he has scored two goals each time. In his first four games with the team, he scored seven goals.
Gerardo Martino, the head coach of Inter Miami, said, “It’s true that we have the best player in the world, and you can’t ignore that.”
DRV PNK Stadium will be home to either Houston Dynamo or Charlotte FC in the quarterfinals.
The Leagues Cup is a soccer tournament put on by the best soccer leagues in the US and Mexico. Every club in the top two leagues in North America takes part.
The tournament winner goes straight to the round of 16 in the Concacaf Champions League.