Lionel Messi scored the first goal of the match in the 23rd minute, marking his 10th goal of the tournament with an impressive long-range shot that sailed past multiple defenders and found the top left corner of the net.
In an exciting turn of events, Fafa Picault of Nashville scored a crucial goal for the home team in the 57th minute. Both teams had numerous thrilling opportunities to secure the lead throughout the rollercoaster second half.
In the decisive match, Nashville’s goalkeeper Elliot Panicco failed to score the final penalty, granting Inter Miami their inaugural championship title. Inter Miami, a recent addition to the league in 2020, celebrated their first trophy victory.
|Aug 19, 2023; Nashville, TN, USA; Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) during the trophy ceremony for the Leagues Cup Championship match at GEODIS Park. Photo: Reuters|
|Aug 19, 2023; Nashville, TN, USA; Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) reacts after scoring a goal against the Nashville SC during the first half for the Leagues Cup Championship match at GEODIS Park. Photo: Reuters|
The elated teammates of Messi jubilantly lifted the Argentine in the air while exuberant Miami co-owner David Beckham exultantly raised his fists in triumph.
“It is a great privilege to have played a pivotal role in securing our inaugural victory in the final,” stated Drake Callender, the esteemed Miami goalkeeper and recipient of the man of the match accolade. Callender not only made two crucial saves during the shootout but also flawlessly executed his own penalty kick.
“The experience is quite surreal and highly emotional. The team’s tireless efforts every day, culminating in such a critical moment… witnessing their determination and faith is truly awe-inspiring. It’s an extraordinary occurrence that I feel fortunate to be a part of.”
Miami has had the poorest record in MLS this season. However, the arrival of Messi has sparked an explosive offensive performance, resulting in the squad scoring an impressive 22 goals in their last seven games.
Messi has achieved his 44th trophy, a record-breaking accomplishment by any player. As the seven-time Ballon d’Or recipient, he was rightfully designated as the player of the tournament, which encompasses teams from MLS and Liga MX.
“It was a closely contested match for both teams, where either side had a fair chance of emerging victorious,” commented Miami head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino.
The match ended in a draw, and I believe a tie was a just result. The game ultimately went to penalties, which required great composure and skill from the goalkeeper, and we emerged as the victors.
The Miami club recently appointed Martino as their coach, and they have also signed two of Messi’s former Barcelona teammates, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. Additionally, their successful run in the Leagues Cup has secured them a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.
According to Martino, our team was not performing well in the past and we had to integrate numerous new players.
I am highly impressed by the collective effort we displayed.
|Aug 19, 2023; Nashville, TN, USA; Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) shoots the ball for a goal against Nashville SC during he first half for the Leagues Cup Championship match at GEODIS Park. Photo: Reuters|
|Aug 19, 2023; Nashville, TN, USA; Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi (10) shoots the ball past Nashville SC midfielder Dax McCarty (6) during the second half for the Leagues Cup Championship match at GEODIS Park. Photo: Reuters|