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Lionel Messi Magic Starts Inter Miami Season with 2-0 Win

 Lionel Messi orchestrated both goals and Inter Miami held off Real Salt Lake's second-half surge for a 2-0 win in the MLS season opener. Despite early dominance, Miami weathered late pressure to secure the victory in front of a sell-out crowd in Fort Lauderdale.


Messi, in midseason form, nearly stole the show with dazzling skills and two near-misses from free kicks and corners. His impact, however, went beyond potential goals.


"The eyes of the world are on Inter Miami," acknowledged MLS Commissioner Don Garber, praising Messi's influence. "I hope his experience is good, the team succeeds, and they become a force both in the league and globally."


Despite missing most of the 2023 season due to injuries, Messi remains a magnet. Fans lined up for his jersey, the league's top seller, and he played a pivotal role in Miami's goals.


Messi's first-half assist set up Robert Taylor, while his pass led to Luis Suarez's assist on Diego Gomez's goal. Suarez, one of several former Barcelona teammates at Inter Miami, expressed his delight at the team's strong start, contrasting it with their shaky preseason.


Inter Miami's preseason, plagued by travel and a single win, fueled skepticism. However, they dominated the first half against a playoff contender, with Messi even showcasing his agility by gracefully maneuvering around an injured defender.


Coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino was impressed by Messi's performance. "He played freely, with his usual touch and surprising speed. He has the unique ability to create scoring opportunities from anywhere, and his solo attempt at the end showed his fitness and joy on the field."


Despite the excitement, cautions against overconfidence remain. "It's just one game," stated Martino. However, Messi's undeniable pull extends beyond wins.


His arrival boosted MLS viewership and cemented Apple TV's investment in the league. Senior vice president Eddy Cue confessed his surprise at the success of "Year 1 Messi in MLS," highlighting the impressive viewership and engagement.


With Messi leading the charge, Inter Miami looks poised for a strong season. However, as Martino reminds us, it's just the beginning. Whether they can translate early promise into postseason success remains to be seen.

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