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Lionel Messi lets fly from 36 yards out as Inter Miami stun Philadelphia 4-1 at Subaru Park

Inter Miami, the worst team in the MLS standings, put on another dominant Leagues Cup performance on Tuesday with Lionel Messi scoring again as the Herons secured a 4-1 victory against giants Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park.

The victory sees Inter Miami advance to the Leagues Cup final vs. the winner of Nashville/Monterrey on Saturday, Aug. 19. If Monterrey wins then Miami will host the final, if Nashville win, they will host the final.

In the semifinal Messi doubled the lead for Miami in the 20th minute when he perfectly placed a shot from 36 yards out into the bottom corner. Union goalkeeper Andre Blake, last year’s MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, had no answer for Miami on the night conceding all four shots on target he faced.

Here was Messi’s goal from distance.

Lionel Messi goal vs Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia losing at Subaru Park is simply unheard of. Jim Curtin’s side have only lost one game at home in 2023. The place is a fortress that Messi and Co. toppled with four goals.

Josef Martínez got the scoring started for Miami less than three minutes in. This was the first sign of the Philly nightmare.

Messi doubled it and then just before halftime Jordi Alba was on the scene to score his first career goal for Inter Miami. That assist from Robert Taylor was a beauty.

The 4-1 score line might make it seem that it was a walk in the (Subaru) park for Inter Miami, but that wasn’t the case. The Union outshot Miami 16-to-5 but repeatedly failed to convert their chances.

Alejandro Bedoya finally poked in a goal for Philadelphia in the 73rd minute and it looked like we were set for a dramatic finish. 

Despite having all the momentum, Philadelphia fell victim to a late Miami attack in the 84th minute. Sergio Busquets found Messi who dumped the ball off to DeAndre Yedlin who then fed a nice ball to 19-year-old David Ruiz. Ruiz had just come on as a substitute 10 minutes prior to his goal.

The victory ensures that Inter Miami and Messi will be playing in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup (rebranded Concacaf Champions League).

They truly have left a path of destruction in their wake. Miami, who have only scored 22 goals in 22 MLS games, have netted 21 goals in six Leagues Cup games. Messi, Busquets and Alba have completely turned this team around.

Messi has scored in every Leagues Cup game so far and his goal tally after Tuesday is now at nine.

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