The worst team in Major League Soccer will lift a trophy this year. After entering Leagues Cup at the bottom of the table in the Eastern Conference and adding major reinforcements in the form of Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, and Lionel Messi, Inter Miami went on a run during the tournament that ended on Saturday night, when the team went to Nashville and knocked off Nashville SC in penalties.
Things ended 1-1 through 90 minutes, and unsurprisingly, Messi was the reason why they got their goal. I’m not even gonna try to describe it, just look at this.
It’s pretty good defending by Nashville, all things considered, but the greatest player in the sport’s history simply put the ball through a wall of five of them and into the one spot where the goalkeeper couldn’t get it. While Miami took this lead into the half, Nashville didn’t have to wait too terribly long to draw level thanks to Fafa Picault getting a goal on a set piece.
Both teams had chances through the end of regulation, which included Inter Miami’s Leonardo Campana having a chance to win it with essentially the last kick of the game. Instead, this happened.
As such, things went to penalties. After Messi and Hany Mukhtar made theirs, Busquets stepped up for the second round of penalties and buries his. And then, Randall Leal was denied by Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender, which meant the home team was playing catch-up. That remained the case through the third and fourth rounds of penalties, but with the opportunity to win the game, Victor Ulloa’s effort was denied by Nashville’s Elliot Panicco.
This started a, quite frankly, ridiculous sequence where neither team scored, and the players who are farther down the list of penalty takers ostensibly because it is not their strong suit just buried every one they took. It got to the point where the goalkeepers got to step up to the spot, and after Callender beat Panicco, the two switched spots, only for Callender to deny his fellow netminder and help Miami win the first trophy in club history.
With the win, Miami became the first club from MLS to win Leagues Cup, which is a tournament between clubs in the United States and Mexico.