Lionel Messi sets three MLS records after five assists and goal in Inter Miami victory

Argentine star the first player to have six goal contributions in an MLS game during 6-2 win over New York Red Bulls

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Lionel Messi set three Major League Soccer records on Saturday night after scoring a goal and providing five assists in Inter Miami's 6-2 win over New York Red Bulls at Chase Stadium.

The six goal contributions, five assists, and five assists in a half were all MLS firsts. Messi, who earned the MLS Player of the Month Award for April, has now scored and assisted in six consecutive league matches.

“It has become redundant but it appears that he is always making history,” Inter Miami manager Gerardo 'Tata' Martino said. “If something was missing, it was this — to contribute in six goals.”

Luis Suarez bagged a hat-trick and Matias Rojas scored twice as Miami came flying back from a 1-0 halftime deficit. Messi and Suarez now have a league-leading 10 goals each, helping keep Miami atop the Eastern Conference with 24 points.

The win extended Miami’s unbeaten run to six matches. The streak began after a 4-0 loss at New York on April 20, in which Messi did not play because of an injury.

“When he is not available, obviously, the team feels it,” Martino said.

Miami began the rout with Rojas’ equaliser in the 48th minute. Messi centered a pass to the Paraguay midfielder, whose left-footed shot landed under the crossbar.

Suarez then fed a charging Messi with a touch pass and he beat New York goalkeeper Carlos Coronel with a shot from 15 yards.

Rojas made it 3-1 with his second goal in the 62nd minute with an assist from Messi. The 28-year-old Rojas joined Miami on April 23 and entered the match to start the second half.

“This is the ultimate satisfaction for a goal scorer,” Rojas said. “It makes it even more special because we accomplished it at home.”

Messi then contributed to former Barcelona teammate Suarez’s first goal in the 69th minute.

“Leo makes it easier for all of us,” Suarez said. “We know each other long enough. When we are on the pitch, we know how to spot each other without looking.”

Suarez also struck in the 75th and 81st minutes before the Red Bulls closed the scoring with Emil Forsberg’s penalty in stoppage time.

“We have many players that are capable of scoring,” Martino said. “At some points in the match, we are going to find favourable moments. The issue is how we limit the unfavourable moments.”

New York controlled possession early and eventually capitalised on a Miami defensive breakdown that resulted in Dante Vanzeir’s goal in the 30th minute. Jose Carmona ran deep on the right wing and blasted a shot that bounced off the far post. An unmarked Vanzeir retrieved the deflection and converted from 15 yards.

Messi had his only scoring opportunity of the first half in the 24th minute when Coronel stopped his shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba missed his third straight game because of a hamstring injury.

Both clubs will continue MLS play next Saturday. Inter Miami visits CF Montreal while the Red Bulls play host to New England.

Updated: May 05, 2024, 5:37 AM