The Florida club didn't defeat Nashville. Apparently, Lionel is only some-powerful.
The beginning of Lionel Messi's transatlantic career has been truly spectacular. The star Argentine, who tried to convince everyone that he was heading to the USA to take a break from the buzz around his name and spend more time with his family from the very first matches in the jersey of his new club, diligently refuted his words. And in a short period, he transformed the MLS underdog into a contender for the most prestigious honors in CONCACAF club football.
To start, Messi and his team won the Leagues Cup. This trophy became the first for the very young Florida team. Moreover, just a few months ago, such achievements were unthinkable. In the MLS championship, Inter Miami played the role of a bystander, with an 11-match winless streak in their record and confidently holding the bottom of the conference table. Then came the qualification for the final of the US Soccer Cup, in which Messi and company are yet to play. But the most severe challenge awaited Lionel ahead.
The regular MLS championship was interrupted for the cup battles, allowing Inter to temporarily forget about the difficult task they had to solve there. Climbing from the last place in the conference to making the playoffs, when a gap of more than ten points separates them from the coveted ninth place (which grants entry to the wildcard round), was akin to a feat. And in this regard, it was interesting to see how practical Messi's magic would be when points couldn't be lost.
The team led by Lionel overcame the New York Red Bulls not without difficulty. Moreover, the second scoring combination clearly showed that the teammates had learned much from their leader relatively quickly. Leo scored from a meter away into the empty net, thanks to their efforts.
But next up for Inter was Nashville, whom Messi and company barely managed to defeat in the Leagues Cup final – and that too through a penalty shootout. The challenge promised to be tough, and it was just that. Messi played the entire match, but neither he nor his teammates could find the keys to the goal guarded by Elliott Panicco. The game's final score was 0:0. And unlike the cup encounter, a draw didn't mean a continuation of the fight but rather the loss of precious points. Points that Inter Miami will surely remember come October.
Now, Messi will undoubtedly face significant psychological pressure. On the one hand, he understands that in his new place, everyone, without exception, expects magic from him. On the other hand, at 36 years old, it takes work to deliver match after match at the highest level without the right to rest or make a mistake. And fixing in a few months what the team successfully spoiled for most of the season might be beyond the abilities of even a football genius. Which Messi undoubtedly is.
So, Lionel should think about setting his priorities wisely. Giving up hope for the playoffs prematurely, of course, is not advisable. But also, getting too disheartened if dreams don't come true shouldn't be necessary. After all, Messi has long proven everything to everyone – on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.