Cover your eyes, Messi: Inter Miami just produced the most chaotic counter-attack you’ll ever see
Major League Soccer has continued to rise in both quality and prominence, but the arrival of Lionel Messi to Inter Miami earlier in 2023 put eyes on the American top flight like never before.
We’d like to think it was Phil Neville who really got the ball rolling for soccer in the United States, but there is an argument to say it was the Messi effect, or something like that.
In a true passing of the torch moment between two of the sport’s biggest names, Fizzer left his post in Miami shortly before Messi arrived to take MLS by storm. Probably a good thing, really. Unstoppable force/immovable object and whatnot.
Since the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner arrived, there’s been nothing but full focus on the fortunes of the franchise co-owned by David Beckham, who also signed Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba in a bid to drastically change their fortunes.
And it worked. Since the trio arrived, Inter Miami have gone from looking completely hopeless on the field, to suddenly looking like a side with a deep-rooted footballing philosophy and winners of the inaugural Leagues Cup.
But having Messi and co around has proven to be somewhat of a catch-22 for Gerardo Martino’s side. When it’s all going well, it’s sunshine and roses. When it’s not, it’s suddenly become very easy to beat Inter Miami with the ‘Messi FC’ shaped stick.
That is – unfortunately – exactly what has happened off the back of what is genuinely one of the most innocent yet hilarious footballing gaffes we’ve seen so far in 2023.
Trying to break the deadlock at home to New York City FC, Inter Miami were presented with a golden opportunity to counter attack and draw first blood after 56 minutes.
NYCFC’s Kevin O’Toole fails to keep the ball under control on the edge of the box which allows two Inter players to poach. Thing is, they both poached a little too hard.
10/10 for effort, lads. At least the manager can’t say you weren’t trying to bust a gut.
Instead of getting the ball under control and creating the most seamless three-on-two transition one could dream of, young talent Benjamin Cremaschi is the victim of a perfectly timed tactical foul – from teammate DeAndre Yedlin.
The pair – both with the same intention – unfortunately get their wires crossed and in a matter have seconds have not combined for a goal, but for the most chaotic and unhinged attempt at a counter one could imagine.
Unfortunately, it’s become very easy for the outside world to point and laugh at the pair, using a funny moment in isolation to ridicule MLS or fuel an argument to say that Inter are nothing without Messi.
We’re not doing that.
If you passed over a weekend of Premier League action just once with a fine-tooth comb – or any top league for that matter – you’d find a whole host of silly mistakes similar to this. It’s part of what makes football so great.
Where’s the entertainment in every single division in football being flawless and every single team playing like robots, incapable of having some fun?
Are Inter Miami infinitely better with a seven-time Ballon d’Or-winning, World Cup-winning freak in their team, who is widely regarded as the best player in the game’s history? Believe it or not, yes. Most sides would be. We’d be mightily concerned if they weren’t.
That doesn’t mean they’re nothing without Messi, though. One spoiled breakaway – in hilarious fashion – doesn’t discredit the work of the rest of the squad, or MLS as a whole.
America’s footballing project remains in its infancy and continues to go from strength to strength – we think moments like this are part of what makes a good football league great.
By Mitch Wilks