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Lionel Messi gets an assist, Inter Miami opens MLS season with a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake

Inter Miami

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – Wednesday’s 2-0 loss against Inter Miami CF marked Real Salt Lake’s 2024 campaign opener. In the first game of the season, Miami had a majority of possession time. In comparison to RSL, they had six more shots on goal and controlled the ball for more than half of the match. As they continue their road trip this week, Real Madrid will visit City Park on Saturday, February 24, to play the St. Louis City SC.

First Half

Early in the first half of the match, Inter-Miami controlled the ball. In the first ten minutes, they controlled the ball for seven of them. After a superb outlet ball, RSL had their first good scoring opportunity in the thirteenth minute. Inter Miami seized the chance with haste and let it slip away. Pablo Ruiz was given a yellow card in the fifteenth minute for a foul. In the seventeenth minute, Lionel Messi attempted his first shot of the match from outside the box. Justen Glad got up and threw it beyond the boundary.

In the following five minutes, Real Salt Lake’s defense stood firm and stopped three more Miami scoring efforts. Nelson Palacio attempted a long-range shot in the 28th minute, but it was stopped. Chicho Arango took a shot on Real’s second attempt, but it only went slightly high. Robert Taylor’s rocket off his foot gave Inter Miami a lead in the 39th minute. Messi had a hand in Miami’s first goal.
Despite Zac Mac-Math of RSL getting a touch on the shot, it did not reach him and ended up in the lower left corner.

For the majority of the first half, RSL was up against it. Over 60% of the half was spent in Inter Miami’s possession, and they had nine shots compared to RSL’s four. After a brief delay, RSL defender Andrew Brody had to leave the field due to an injury in the 44th minute. At the end of stoppage time, Arango tried again, but this time it went high. Inter Miami had a 1-0 advantage at the half.

The Second Half

Real Salt Lake emerged from the break with great gusto. In the first five minutes of the half, Andrés Gómez and Arango both had a chance, but neither one was able to find the goal. In the next two minutes, Arango and Ruiz combined for three shots, but Miami blocked two of them and the third went wide right. Nelson Palacio was replaced by Fidel Barajas in the sixty-sixth minute. 72nd minute: Brayan Vera attempted two shots. While the second missed to the left, the first was saved. In the 77th minute, Inter Miami made a group substitution. Diego Gómez scored a goal in the 83rd minute following a Miami passing play. The assist was given credit to Luis Suárez. Miami added two more shots in the 86th and 89th minutes, now with the momentum in their favor.

Mac-Math managed to keep both alive. The stoppage time was extended by four minutes. RSL lost to Inter Miami CF 2-0 in the season opener, unable to score any goals. Inter Miami CF and Real Salt Lake 2023. Inter Miami had a 5-14-3 record and was at the bottom of the Eastern Conference before Messi’s arrival midway through the 2023 season. Despite Messi played little, Miami went 4-4-4 and won the Leagues Cup when the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner put on the pink shirt.

Inter Miami was unable to overcome its early-season setbacks and failed to make it to the playoffs. With a record of 14-12-8, Real Salt Lake qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs as the fifth seed in the West. Although RSL was eliminated by Houston in the first round, there was still a great deal of optimism for the team’s future as young players and newcomers were given greater playing time.


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