- Messi plays entirety of Miami’s season finale on artificial turf
- Argentinian star finishes with 11 goals in 14 matches on season
- Charlotte FC qualify for MLS playoffs with 1-0 victory at home
Lionel Messi played the entire 90 minutes in Inter Miami’s matchday game on artificial turf as they lost to Charlotte FC 1-0 in the final MLS fixture of the season on Saturday night.
The match drew an impressive crowd of 66,101 fans at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 74,000.
Undoubtedly, Messi’s presence created a buzz among the spectators, with thousands of fans wearing Messi No. 10 shirts to show their support for the Argentine superstar.
While Messi’s individual performance on the artificial turf may not have been remarkable, his presence undoubtedly added to the spectacle of the game.
Despite his undeniable talent, Messi struggled to make an impact in the game as he was marked closely by the Charlotte FC defenders.
Instead, Kerwin Vargas stole the spotlight with an early goal that proved to be the winner for his team.
Charlotte FC also had goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina to thank, as his last-minute save denied Leonardo Campana a chance to equalize.
Charlotte FC came agonizingly close to hosting the Wild Card match, but a late goal from the New York Red Bulls pushed them into third place.
This means Charlotte FC will now have to travel for their playoff game, while Inter Miami’s season comes to an end.
This match also highlighted the growing trend in MLS, where playoffs have become the primary focus, sometimes overshadowing the importance of the regular season.
As for Messi, his time with Inter Miami has been relatively successful. Since joining the club, he has contributed to 11 wins, 1 draw, and 2 defeats. He scored 11 goals and provided 5 assists, helping Inter Miami secure the Leagues Cup trophy earlier in the season.
While Messi’s journey with Inter Miami has come to a close, fans can take solace in the fact that he will return in February 2024.
In the meantime, the Argentinian superstar will focus on representing his national team.
Messi’s outstanding performances with Argentina, including leading them to World Cup glory in Qatar, have made him the frontrunner for his eighth Ballon d’Or title. With seven goals and three assists in the tournament, Messi’s individual brilliance has been unmatched.
With just two matches left to play for Argentina before his return to Inter Miami, Lionel Messi’s legacy continues to grow, solidifying his status as one of the greatest footballers of all time.