All indications before tonight were that Lionel Messi would see minimal action, if any, in his first opportunity for MLS minutes with Inter Miami.
Yet with Inter Miami leading 1-0 with a goal from Diego Gomez in the first half, and the Red Bull Arena crowd begging to see the Argentine superstar get their wish. Messi entered the action for just over half an hour and his 89th-minute goal sealed the win as the Herons topped the New York Red Bulls in Messi’s MLS debut.
Back in league action for a stretch run after the League Cup break, Inter Miami finished bottom of the Eastern Conference with 12 games remaining and needed a nearly perfect finish to the season to keep an eye on a playoff position. They have a high mountain to climb, but these three points against a fellow playoff chaser are a great start.
With Messi and Sergio Busquets on the bench to start the match, much-needed rest after a tough first month of action for his new club, Inter Miami fought back well and Omir Fernandez took the lead on Gomez’s excellent opener. Saved from the mistake of. While the Red Bulls had a chance to equalize, it was Messi’s first MLS goal to score the three points, which lifted Inter Miami off the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and above Toronto FC in 14th place.
Get live updates, exciting highlights, and expert commentary for the NY Red Bulls vs Inter Miami matchup.
FULLTIME: NY Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami 0-2
Diego Gomez started the job by replacing Lionel Messi on the bench and the Argentine eventually made his mark on the match. Credit to Tata Martino for devising a plan to utilize his young transfer extras and home-grown talent, before turning to his former Barcelona stars in the half-hour interval.
New York Red Bulls continue to struggle in the final third, with Omir Fernandez’s blunder looming large in the final outcome of the game. He had some great chances to get back in it, but he couldn’t blow any of them.
Inter Miami will get the first three points in what will be a long and tough playoff race. We’re off to an awesome beginning, but there’s still so much more in store. Meanwhile, New York will need to sort things out in the final third if they are to have any chance at a post-season spot.
Check out the line-ups and the latest news about the teams for NY Red Bulls vs. Inter Miami.
The NY Red Bull team is dealing with injuries including Dylan Neelis suffering from core surgery, while Lewis Morgan is also battling a similar problem. Kyle Duncan is missing due to a yellow card accumulation after picking up a card in his last substitute appearance. Corey Burke is out with a hip problem but is back on the bench tonight in Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami match.
Head coach Troy Leesen has constantly rotated his team, making his starting XI difficult to predict, and this time he went with a five-man midfield. Frankie Amaya steps in as a spare body in place of striker Dante Venazier.
Last time D.C. In a 1–0 win over United, young USMNT prospect John Tolkien netted an 88th-minute winner to seal the three points and put more pressure on those around him in the playoff race, including Inter Miami.
RBNY Starting Line-up (4-5-1): Coronel (GK) – Harper, Reyes, S.J. Neelis, Tolkien – O. The team line-up includes Fernandez, Edelman, Yearwood, Amaya, and Luquinhas, led by Manoel.
RBNY Sub(9): Mira (GK), Valencia, Nosita, NDM, Stroud, Carmona, Cabezas, Barlow, Burke.
Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami match Gerardo Martino strongly hinted that players would need to be rotated over the next few matches, and it appears that effective from today, Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets will both not start, instead being listed as substitutes. Will be done. Both will probably still come off the bench for 20-30 minutes.
There are also a few other players who are likely candidates for rest. Thirty-two-year-old center-back Serhiy Krivtsov was signed a few days ago by the U.S. In the Open Cup semi-finals, he was replaced by young Argentine Tomás Aviles. Jean Mota returned from injury but was not selected for this match, as Dixon Arroyo stepped in for Busquets.
First Half of the NY Red Bulls vs. Inter Miami Match.
Kick-off: Match underway! Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets are on the bench now, but regardless, Inter Miami will need to find a way to get three points in this game if they want to begin their bid for an MLS playoff spot. Each of their remaining 12 league games is crucial. The same is true for the Red Bulls who are trying to make the playoffs.
3rd minute: Inter Miami starts this game with a very active counter-press, energetically closing down every New York player on the ball. This is causing some problems in the beginning, but no prospects have been made so far.
Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami match at the other end, Kamal Miller defends a threaded vertical ball very well for Elias Manoel.
7th minute: Chance, Inter Miami! With Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets on the field, Inter Miami have been dominating on the ball, but the Red Bulls have had most of the early encouragement tonight. Yet Inter Miami counter on the turnover and Jordi Alba slides in and crosses to Diego Gomez. He puts it just right!
It didn’t take long for the Red Bull Arena to start calling Messi, who is sitting among the substitutes In Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami match.
11th minute: Cameron Harper spikes after giving Jordi Alba a corner and the Red Bulls right-back is shown an early yellow card for a bad tackle. This results in a fine set-piece chance for Inter Miami with a corner flag, and they play it past Noah Allen, whose delivery earns a corner.
15 minutes: It’s New York now with a set-piece after John Tolkien is fouled, and Kamal Miller is on hand to clear both balls before a corner is awarded. That too is cleared.
18 minute: Robert Taylor has been very active at right wing-back for Inter Miami, and he picked up an ugly turnover as he advanced into the Red Bulls’ half. Yet he attacks immediately, seeing Leonardo Campana sitting all alone in the attacking third, but not realizing that he is well offside. The flag goes up.
20 minute: Luquinhas dances and moves around defenders to create space for a shot, and when it looks like there is room for an effort, Kamal Miller comes in for the block.
Then moments later, Tomas Aviles moves too casually to clear Luquinhas at the top of the penalty area, conceding a very dangerous free-kick and getting a deserved booking. John Tolkien, who had scored a late winner on a free-kick last weekend, smashed it straight into the wall.
27th minute of Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami match Facundo Farias makes a great effort to get ahead, but he is skilfully taken out of play by Colombian defender Andres Reyes. There has been very little round-mouth action so far over the course of about half an hour, but it has been a fun fight so far.
29th minute: Diego Gomez’s cross is slotted in by Frankie Amaya, and it essentially gives him a set piece from the corner flag. The Red Bulls are unhappy with the call, but it is a clear foul. Noah Allen’s delivery curls down towards the near post, and it curls past Kamal Miller to Facundo Farias, who fires a shot wide.
35 minutes: Chance, New York! Omir Fernandez puts a sitter wide! This is a terrible mistake! Inter Miami is captured, and Luquinhos tears his remaining defenders to pieces. He has a window to shoot but instead, he feeds out to the left, where a cross lands for Omir Fernandez at the top of the six-yard box. Fernandez is all alone and aims all the way out, but he totally screws it up and puts it wide of the far post!
Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami What a terrible miss with what was likely the best game ever!
There was no one else around as he stood right in front of the goal!
37th minute: Goal! Inter Miami! Diego Gomez made New York pay for their mistake, and put Inter Miami up just before halftime! Jordi Alba’s set-piece delivery is punched clear by Carlos Coronel, but on recycle, Noah Allen’s delivery from 10 yards lands at the right feet of Diego Gómez, and he tucks it into the bottom-right corner.
41st minute: Chance, Inter Miami! Leonardo Campana has an acrobatic chance all alone with his back towards goal, he lifts a cross in the air and turns his foot around, but the shot is saved by Carlos Coronel.
43rd minute: Penalty, New York! A shot by Omir Fernandez hits the arm of David Ruiz, and the penalty is awarded by Alan Chapman! It’s a sad decision, as Ruiz’s hand was clearly next to his. It is never a punishment. Chapman may have seen Ruiz’s lower arm outstretched at the elbow, but the ball hit his upper arm which was stuck to his hip.
The referee is directed to check the monitor, and he only needs to look at it twice to realize he has made a mistake. No penalty! This is the correct decision, and the yellow card shown to Ruiz for the initial decision is also overturned. A great example of how VAR must work quickly and efficiently to find the right decision to correct a clear and obvious error.
The Exciting Second Half: NY Red Bulls vs. Inter Miami.
Kick-off: The second half is underway, and Lionel Messi is still on the bench. The second time he started on the Inter Miami bench, he came on before the hour mark, but in that match against Cruz Azul, Inter Miami equalized. They lead here, so we’ll see how Tata Martino plays it out. He mentioned to the MLS broadcast, “Let’s see how things play out.”
47th minute: Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami match Red Bulls have started it on the front foot but they still can’t get it right till the last ball. Tom Barlow has looked lively since arriving. Lionel Messi burst into flames and the entire Red Bull Arena was stunned.
50 minutes: Chance, New York! Omir Fernandez meets John Tolkien’s corner with his head and curls it over the goalkeeper, but Drake Callender gets his fingers to it with an acrobatic leap and lofts it over the bar! What a rescue by Callender, who has been brilliant for the past month!
57th minute: Chance, New York! Drake Calendar with HUGE savings! He makes a sliding stop with a clean through on Tom Barlow’s goal!
And now Lionel Messi’s entry is about to happen! Red Bull Arena is in excitement! He will enter alongside Sergio Busquets and DeAndre Yedlin.
60th minute: A change is finally made as Inter Miami brings on three players including Lionel Messi. Red Bull Arena took its top spot. Leo Campana, David Ruiz, and Robert Taylor have been withdrawn.
63rd minute: Chance, New York! Frankie Amaya defeats Drake Callender with a left uppercut! He takes aim from just outside the penalty area and rifles it across the post. The second time Lionel Messi came off the bench for his Inter Miami debut against Cruz Azul, and in that game, the opponent scored immediately after he entered. Can the Red Bulls do the same? They have dominated since the resumption of the second half.
66th minute: Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami match The Red Bulls will make an offensive change, replacing midfielder Frankie Amaya and bringing on striker Corey Burke, who is returning from a hip injury.
69th minute: Lionel Messi is starting to make an impact. At first, he looks to play a combination with Jordi Alba which is eventually sniffed out on a fourth down pass between them, and moments later he gets a deep ball from Sergio Busquets on a platter but it is too close to the end line and he is thrown out of the game.
72nd minute: Another change for Inter Miami, Tata Martino brings on Benji Cremaschi for fellow youngster Facundo Farias. Perhaps it means a change in the system, as Inter Miami has no true strikers on the pitch.
77th minute: Red Bulls Vs. Inter Miami match the Inter Miami is now in the lower block, and the Red Bulls are struggling to find a way. They will make another change, bringing in 19-year-old Colombian Jorge Hurtado on loan from Watford. He replaced Omir Fernandez.
84th minute: Sub-break-up action slows down the match, which will suit Inter Miami perfectly. Goal-scorer Diego Gomez has been withdrawn to make way for Robbie Robinson, who returns from injury. Cameron Harper was withdrawn as the Red Bulls threw Wilcomen Carmona to the pitch.
87th minute: Oh my god, the entire Red Bull Arena held its breath as Lionel Messi reached the ball at the top of the penalty area and touched it to his favorite left in space. He had room to shoot! Instead, he pulls it back and wins a foul just outside the top of the penalty area.
Carlos Coronel gets a yellow card for his actions on the field. It’s right in Messi’s range… He stands over the ball… and it hits the wall.
89th minute: Goal! Inter Miami! Who else than Lionel Messi will seal his MLS debut for Inter Miami! The Red Bull defense surrounded Messi on the left side of the penalty spot so he fed it to Benji Cremaschi at the opposite end. Then, as the defense rushes to cover Cremaschi, this leaves Messi alone to return the ball, and he smashes the tap-in!
Messi gets his first MLS goal!