The stage is set for the greatest of all time to take on the MLS player of the year, yeah, it's not even a close or fair competition but MLS wants to push it. Messi and his friends Sergio and Jordi will more likely than not light up Nashville. Messi has been on a tear entering the night with 9 goals in six matches.
Inter Miami has scored inside the first 15 minutes of each match Messi and Sergio has started for the club. If Nashville wants any chance at glory tonight, they must keep Miami off the scoreboard for as long as possible. If Miami pulls off what they've been doing this match will be over before halftime.
The first half saw Miami come out controlling the pace and ball movement for the majority of the first half. Then it happened in one play Messi destroyed the souls of six professional athletes in a matter of seconds. In the 23' Messi found the ball off a blocked shot and stunned the entire state of Tennessee. He went around Zimmerman with ease and his fellow teammates, then in a matter of mere centimeters unleashed a missile to the upper 90 of the 2nd post for the early 1 - 0 lead in the finals and Nashville is now dead quiet. Even the Nashville fans had to stand and applaud the effort by the G.O.A.T. who now has 10 goals in 7 matches, and Miami nearly got a second just minutes later. Nashville is the first side to keep Miami off the scoreboard inside 15' but they made one crucial mistake, and he did what he does best, punish you where it matters the most.
Video Credit: Leagues Cup and MLS
Nashville would make it to halftime only down one goal, which has two sides to it. The first is they have been the best defensive performance against the Miami side, the flip side though is by the end of the half Miami was spreading the seams of Nashville. I would be shocked if Gary doesn't make some moves at halftime to try and seal the gaps. Miami needs help with the set pieces, Nashville did create chances, and while they were easy saves for Callender they still were in spots of danger and need cleaning up.
The second half sees Nashville make no moves and they came out the gate with some pace. In the 57' they get on the board thanks to an own goal off a set piece and Tata will be kicking himself for it. Campana is sitting on the bench and is a set-piece master defensively for the team, to see them give up that goal when they could've stopped it is sad, to say the least. The game would get chippy, but veteran referee Ishmail was up to the challenge. In the dying moments Campana was given the chance of a lifetime, all alone with the goalkeeper plenty of space to dance, he gets by the keeper and misses the goal completely. I have no clue how he missed the chance; Messi is speechless along with Tata who was ready to celebrate the victory. If Miami loses in penalties this missed goal will be all over every outlet known to man.
H. Mukhtar O L. Messi O R. Leal X S. Busquets O A. Godoy O L. Campana O W. Zimmerman O K. Miller O S. Surridge O V. Ulloa X S. Moore O S. Kryvtsov O D. Lovitz O J. Alba O L. MacNaughton O D. Gómez O S. Davis O D. Ruíz O J. Shaffelburg O D. Yedlin O E. Panicco X D. Callender O
The match is over, and Inter Miami CF is the Champions of the Leagues Cup 2023. Callender is easily the Man of The Match for Miami. He would take home Best Goalkeeper for the competition as well. Messi was the Golden Boot winner and Cup Most Valuable Player. After the match, he put a captain armband on Yedlin so he could lift the trophy with Messi.