Lionel Messi, fresh from leading Inter Miami to victory in the Leagues Cup, has set his sights on an ambitious mission—to transform his new Major League Soccer (MLS) club into a playoff contender. This challenge is even more incredible given Miami’s current standing in the MLS Eastern Conference, where they sit in 14th place with a record of 4-10-13, just ahead of Toronto.
LAFC’s Strong Position in the Western Conference
In stark contrast, LAFC comfortably occupies third place in the Western Conference with a record of 11-7-7. The top seven teams from each conference earn automatic playoff berths, while the 8th and 9th teams must battle in a wild-card match.
Confronting the Challenge of Fatigue
A formidable challenge lies ahead as this marks Miami’s 11th game in just 45 days, including their ninth match in the past 33 days.
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Half-Time Drama: Inter Miami 1, LAFC 0
At the halftime whistle, Inter Miami leads LAFC 1-0. Although Messi has not found the net in this game, he’s had two close calls. In the 14th minute, Facu Farias scored the opening goal, and goalkeeper Drake Callendar made crucial saves to keep LAFC scoreless.
In the 37th minute, Selena Gomez’s reaction to Messi’s near-miss was caught on camera, adding to the star-studded atmosphere as Inter Miami maintained their 1-0 lead.
Just before halftime, Prince Harry’s frustration following a missed opportunity for LAFC added more excitement to the match.
Facundo Farias Extends Miami’s Lead
Facundo Farias extended Miami’s lead with a sliding kick in the 14th minute, following a pass from Tomás Avilés. Messi joined the celebrations, embracing Farias as Inter Miami led 1-0 in Los Angeles.
Due to the teams playing on the West Coast at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, the match between Inter Miami and LAFC had a late kickoff at 10 p.m. ET.
How to Watch the Game
To catch the Lionel Messi Inter Miami vs. LAFC game, you can stream it live on MLS Season Pass through Apple TV.
The starting lineups for Miami and LAFC were revealed just 45 minutes before kickoff, adding to the match’s anticipation.
An Intriguing Clash Featuring Chiellini
Notably, Giorgio Chiellini, who shares a history with Messi from their time at Juventus in Italy, started for LAFC, adding an intriguing dynamic to the game.
A Star-Studded Spectacle
The crowd was a star-studded affair, including LeBron James, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), Leo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, and Will Ferrell. This gathering underscored the widespread Messi Mania.
Rebounding from a Scoreless Draw
In their most recent encounter against Nashville, Messi and Miami encountered an unusual scoreless draw, ending their streak of victories. This marked Miami’s 10th game in 40 days, raising concerns about player fatigue.
Varied Expert Predictions
Expert predictions for the Inter Miami vs. LAFC match diverge, with some expecting a high-scoring thriller and others envisioning a well-rested LAFC securing a comfortable victory.
Carlos Vela’s Familiarity with Messi
Carlos Vela, LAFC’s star forward, has faced Messi 18 times in their careers, with Messi often prevailing. However, Vela’s familiarity with Messi might mitigate the intimidation factor.
LAFC’s Formidable Home Advantage
LAFC has proven a formidable force at home, outscoring opponents 18-1 in recent matches. The passionate 22,000-strong crowd at BMO Stadium is expected to provide LAFC with a significant advantage, further enhancing their chances.
Lionel Messi’s LA Ticket
Attending a Messi game is a sought-after experience in Los Angeles, with secondary market ticket prices averaging $717. This places it just $31 below the cost of attending every Los Angeles Chargers NFL home game at SoFi Stadium this season. The secondary market is also buzzing with demand for Beyoncé’s concert at SoFi Stadium on the same evening.
The Place to Be Tonight
In summary, Los Angeles is unquestionably the place to be as Messi and Miami seek to rebound from a scoreless draw against Nashville SC. Messi’s determination to regain his scoring prowess adds to the intrigue of this highly anticipated match.