Messi's Coach Doesn't Expect to See That Again

Miami superstar sets MLS records with 5 assists and contributions to 6 goals
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2024 12:42 PM CDT
Messi's Coach Doesn't Expect to See That Again
Lionel Messi dribbles the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer game against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.   (AP Photo/Michael Laughlin)

The New York Red Bulls held Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi to one goal on Saturday night. It was the five assists that did New York in. Miami won 6-2 on the strength of Messi's dazzling performance in support of Luis Suárez's hat trick, CNN reports. Messi's assists and contribution to six goals total set MSL records. They also were career highs for the World Cup winner, per Yahoo Sports, whose personal best had been three assists. It all happened in the second half: New York led 1-0 at halftime.

"I don't think we will ever see anything like that again," said Miami head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino after the game. Messi and Suárez formed a successful partnership in Barcelona and have carried on for Miami, with Messi assisting on all three of Suárez's goals on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale. He also assisted on Matías Rojas's two goals. Yahoo's Henry Bushnell describes one setup for Suárez this way: "Messi beat an entire midfield line with a single cut, scampered into gaping green grass, then played a one-two-three with Luis Suárez at the top of the box to create Suárez's second goal of the night."

"It's easier with Leo," Suárez said later, per ESPN. "Obviously we know each other, and sometimes you'll notice we know where the other is and do movements without having to look at one another." It was his first career hat trick. The two teammates are now tied with 10 goals each for the season, leading the league. Messi also leads in assists, with 12. (More Lionel Messi stories.)

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