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Home MLS: Messi and Suarez score twice as Inter Miami defeats Orlando

MLS: Messi and Suarez score twice as Inter Miami defeats Orlando


Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez each scored twice as Inter Miami thrashed Orlando City 5-0 in Major League Soccer on Saturday.

Rival team, Orlando from Florida, placed second in the Eastern Conference the previous year and was thought to be a strong candidate for the MLS Cup this year, but Miami was superior from the start.

Suarez had struggled in his first two appearances due to a lack of match fitness and sharpness. However, the 37-year-old top scorer for Gremio in Brazil last season dispelled any concerns about his ability to play in the closing third of games.

"I am thrilled that he was able to score for him. In any case, we were at ease because everyone knows Luis's abilities and qualities," Messi remarked.

"He is like that when you least expect it; he solves a game for you like he did today, with the goals and the assists."

It only took Suarez four minutes to put Miami ahead, and he made a powerful first-time effort inside the near post to meet a low cross from Julian Gressel for his first goal as a new team member.

After just seven minutes, Suarez had doubled his total. Gressel had once again found the Uruguayan, who had excellent close control in the box before diving into the corner.

Although Messi's crowd enjoyed some of his delectable touches, Miami was in complete control, and Suarez, his former Barcelona teammate, was causing the most damage.

In the 29th minute, Robert Taylor doubled the score after an excellent Gressel split the Orlando defence and found Suarez, who selflessly picked out Taylor for an easy tap-in.

After that, Messi produced a trademark curling free-kick against the upright from 30 yards out, and a few minutes later, he set up Suarez for a beautiful through pass that found the back of the net. However, an offside flag dashed his hopes of celebrating a hat trick.

Following the interval, Orlando came out swinging, looking for a way to get back into the game. They were upset when Martin Ojeda's effort was flagged offside.

Back in the groove after a deft pass from Suarez, Gressel blasted against the bar, and Messi fired inches wide in the 54th minute, demonstrating Miami's rapid finding of a rhythm.

Left-back Jordi Alba, another of Miami's former Barcelona quartet, set up the fourth goal when he broke free down the left side, set up Suarez for a one-two and clipped the ball goalward.

After Orlando captain Robin Jansson's desperate attempt at clearing the ball, it found its way to Messi, who finished it.

When Suarez was spotted in the inside left channel, he saw Messi at the back post. Messi found him with a perfectly weighted left-foot cross, which the Argentine headed into the far corner. Suarez appeared eager to get his hat trick.

Miami will play again in the CONCACAF Champions Cup on Thursday against Nashville. Miami has seven points from its first three games.

"We are doing well, we are enjoying it, we are growing," said Messi. "Today was an important match to win, to continue on this growth path, and this has to make us very strong for everything to come."

The underdog Minnesota United held the reigning MLS champion Columbus Crew to a 1-1 draw earlier.

Cucho Hernandez, a Colombian striker, gave the Crew the lead in the 58th minute with a strike from the edge of the box, but Tani Oluwaseyi of Minnesota stole a point deep into stoppage time.

MLS 2023's runner-up, Andres Gomez, scored a brace to lead Los Angeles FC to a 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake in winless conditions.

Steve Cherundolo, the Los Angeles Football Club coach, was incensed about the decision to play the game despite being played on a snow-covered field.

"We had to play a complete joke today. He remarked, "It was among the worst professional sporting events I have ever witnessed.

"We put the players through this, and I feel awful for them. It was both possible and appropriate to call the game (off). It was a complete shame, that we had to play today.

Against San Jose, the Los Angeles Galaxy prevailed 3-1 in their all-Californian match.

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