Inter Miami captain Lionel Messi starred as they trounced Philadelphia Union 4-1 in the semifinal of the Leagues Cup, scoring for the sixth successive game for his new side.
Coming into the clash, Inter Miami had five wins on the spin in the competition since Messi arrived at the club, and the 36-year-old had scored in all the games he played in, including his debut against Cruz Azul. This was in stark contrast to the side that had been winless in 11 before Messi’s arrival in South Florida.
In the semifinal, Inter Miami were up against one of the MLS’ best sides in Philadelphia Union, a side that defeated them 4-1 in their previous meeting this season. Union also had the best defensive record in the competition before the match.
Inter Miami wasted no time in taking the lead through Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez after only three minutes. The prolific front man latched onto a pass from Sergio Busquets before firing across the goalkeeper to open the scoring for his side.
After 20 minutes of the encounter, Messi scored for the ninth straight match. He received the ball from Martinez about 35 yards from goal and proceeded for about three yards before unleashing a ferocious low drive that beat the goalkeeper to score the second furthest goal of his career and his ninth in six games in the Leagues Cup.
On the stroke of half-time, another of Inter Miami’s stars added his contribution to effectively put the game to bed. Jordi Alba received a pass from Robert Taylor before firing home his first goal for Inter Miami to make it 3-0.
Philadelphia Union improved in the second half and were rewarded when Alejandro Bedoya pulled one back for them in the 73rd minute to reduce the deficit to two. Inter Miami had the final say in the match when David Ruiz fired home following a pass from DeAndre Yedlin in the 84th minute.
Inter Miami will face fellow MLS side Nashville SC in the final of the competition on Sunday, with both sides already through to the CONCACAF Champions League by virtue of reaching the final of the Leagues Cup. Lionel Messi will be hopeful of winning another trophy with his new club.