Since joining Inter Miami CF, Lionel Messi has propelled the club to new heights. The team won their first trophy just a few days ago, outlasting Nashville SC in penalties to win the Leagues Cup. That gave Messi his 44th trophy, making him the most decorated player in the history of the sport.
And by the looks of it, he — and Miami — might not be done.
Miami is in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup, taking on FC Cincinnati, and Miami was just seconds away from elimination, trailing 2-1 in stoppage time.
That’s when Messi delivered one of the best balls you will ever see:
A “Messi Miracle,” indeed.
The goal from Leonardo Campana at the death leveled the match at two, setting the stage for extra time. Messi’s assist, however, is certainly worth another look. This view from the field level shows just how absurd a ball this is from Messi’s left foot:
And thanks to the “Star Cam” angle on the broadcast from CBS Sports, you can take in this view, focused on Messi alone:
Of course, this was not the only perfect ball from Messi on the night. After getting down 2-0 in the match, Miami cut into the Cincinnati lead thanks to another perfect ball from Messi, and another header from Campana:
In extra time, Miami got on the board first with a goal from Josef Martínez to take a 3-2 lead:
However, Cincinnati did not go quietly into the night. In the second half of extra time, they managed to level the match at 3-3 on this right-footed shot from Yuya Kubo:
A poor clearance from Miami allowed Kubo to keep the ball in the attacking end, settle it at his feet, and push a rocket past keeper Drake Callender — the hero of the Leagues Cup penalties — to level the match at three.
The match remained tied when extra time elapsed, meaning for the second-straight match, Messi and Miami were headed to penalties. Both clubs converted their first four chances from the spot, with Messi scoring first for Miami by using a hesitation move to get past Cincinnati keeper Alec Kann:
But on Cincinnati’s fifth shot, Callender made the first save of penalties, stopping a shot from Nick Hagglund. Miami’s Benjamin Cremaschi stepped to a spot to book Miami’s spot in the Final.
He buried it, and Miami moves on to just their second Final in club history.
We know how the first one ended.