Lionel Messi finally blanks for Inter Miami as nine-game win streak comes to an end
Nashville SC managed something that no other team has since Lionel Messi joined Inter Miami — stop the superstar from making an impact.
In the U.S. Open Cup semi-final last week, FC Cincinnati became the first team to stop Messi from scoring. But the 36-year-old still assisted twice as they won on penalties following a 3-3 draw after extra time. With 11 goals in nine games since joining Miami, Messi has managed to score against every other opponent he’s faced.
One of those opponents was Nashville, who Messi scored against in the Leagues Cup final before Miami went on to win the competition. It was the first final for both MLS teams, and Miami claimed their first trophy as a franchise.
It may not have been of equal importance, but Nashville managed to get their revenge by stopping Miami from winning its first home MLS game with Messi in the side. They also stopped their 100 percent record with Messi, as they held on for a 0-0 draw.
It was a frustrating night at DRV PNK Stadium, with their new superstars all showing signs that the honeymoon period may be over. Jordi Alba was furious when leaving the field at half-time as he booted the ball away in frustration, and Sergio Busquets was booked after letting his anger out in a reckless tackle.
Messi struggled to remain calm too, and was involved in an altercation with Nashville’s Jack Maher as the pair began pushing one another. Things had been perfect for Miami, winning nine-straight games since Messi joined the franchise.
But they’ve played a lot of football in the past few weeks across three different competitions, and fatigue may be starting to show.. The Argentine star was missing that extra stride of pace against Nashville and failed to dominate for the first time.
Messi looked determined to score, and it was the first time that some of his team-mates looked upset with him as there were times he ignored passing options to prioritise a shot. But even when the perfect opportunity came, he failed to take it.
The free-kick maestro was presented with a golden chance from 20 yards, as Dax McCarty brought him down on the edge of the area. The entire stadium held their breath as Messi stood behind the ball, wondering if he was about to recreate his debut goal for Miami against Cruz Azul.
But the shot was weak and comfortable for the keeper, and Messi stared up at the sky as he searched for answers. Nashville posed the toughest test yet for Miami when they met in the Leagues Cup, and they reminded the in-form franchise that they could be matched.