In his first start for Inter Miami on Tuesday, Lionel Messi scored two goals and provided an assist.
Lionel Messi shone for Inter Miami as they defeated Atlanta United 4-0 at the DRV PNK Stadium as he continues to relish the beginning of his new life in North America. Messi once again stole the show by scoring twice in the first half and adding an assist for good measure. A Miami squad that was previously last in the conference in the MLS rankings has improved since the addition of Messi, Sergio Busquets, and new coach Tata Martino.
Josef Martinez of Miami and Martino faced off against Atlanta United, the team they had both helped win the MLS Cup with in 2018.
The Argentine finished off his hat trick in the 22nd minute thanks to more sloppy Atlanta defense. Robert Taylor was exposed by Messi on the left wing, and when three defenders turned their attention to Taylor, Messi snuck into the penalty area unnoticed. After receiving a low cross from Taylor, he scored again with his right foot to make the score 2-0.
Miami was able to secure a berth in the round of 32 of the interleague competition with two Messi-inspired triumphs in their two Leagues Cup group games. Now, focus will shift to the MLS and the August US Open Cup semifinals.