- Lionel Messi made his MLS debut in New York.
- Top celebs attended the match.
- The prices for the match soared to as high as $20,000.
With the presence of arguably the greatest soccer player ever, Lionel Messi, numerous well-known individuals gathered at Red Bull Arena to witness his debut in Major League Soccer (MLS) on Saturday night.
Messi arrived in New York for his inaugural league match for Inter Miami over the weekend. He made a remarkable late goal after coming off the bench.
Due to the high anticipation surrounding Messi’s first MLS appearance, ticket prices for the game saw a significant increase in the past week, with some fans paying over $20,000 to be part of the event.
Among those in attendance were former NBA player Carmelo Anthony, New York-born playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, and women’s soccer couple Kristie Mewis and Sam Kerr.
However, both celebrities and fans who invested heavily in tickets were disappointed as Messi didn’t start the game; he was placed on the bench by Inter manager Tata Martino. Messi, who led Miami to victory in the Leagues Cup and the US Open Cup semifinal against Cincinnati earlier in the week, had started the previous seven matches.
Martino had indicated on Friday that he planned to rest his star player for upcoming matches due to his intense start in the United States.
Messi eventually entered the game in the 60th minute with Inter leading 1-0 from Diego Gomez’s first-half goal. Just before the final minutes, Messi played a pivotal role in securing the three points. He displayed his trademark skills inside the box, passing to Benjamin Cremaschi near the byline with an exceptional assist, which allowed Cremaschi to pull the ball back across the goal for Messi to score with a tap-in.
With this goal, Messi has now netted 11 times in his initial nine appearances, all of which ended in victories—although two were achieved through penalty shootouts.
In a recent semifinal against Cincinnati, when the match seemed to be slipping away, Messi provided an incredible cross that set up Campana for a last-minute equalizer. Miami eventually won in a penalty shootout, securing their spot in the upcoming final against Houston Dynamo next month.
Messi and Inter’s next challenge is a match against Nashville at DRV PNK Stadium on Wednesday night.
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