FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — After an hour and a half rain delay, Lionel Messi took seven minutes to provide another highlight play for Inter Miami.
Messi caught a pass at the top of his chest, and his left boot sent it into the back of the net to help Inter Miami take a 1-0 lead on Orlando City in their Leagues Cup game on Wednesday night at DRV PNK Stadium.
But it didn’t take long for Orlando City to answer.
Follow along for more updates and highlights from Messi’s Inter Miami match.
Messi scores again: Inter Miami 3, Orlando City 1
Messi scored his second goal in 72’ and Inter Miami has taken a 3-1 lead in this contest.
WORLD CUP CENTRAL: 2023 Women’s World Cup Live Scores, Schedules, Standings, Bracket and More
Messi was trailing on the play before Robert Taylor found Josef Martinez, and Martinez unselfishly passed a short kick to Messi.
Messi finished the job with his right foot as the ball shot into the left corner of the net.
Messi jumped into Martinez’ arms after the score, his fifth goal for Inter Miami.
And arguably the most unselfish play by the Inter Miami’s best players since Messi’s arrival.
Taylor notched the hockey assist, while Martinez’s assist was perfectly placed for Messi.
How many goals does Messi have for Miami?
Messi has scored five goals in his first three games for Inter Miami.
Messi has scored two goals in each of his last two games.
And Messi’s best Inter Miami goal still remains his game-winning shot in his debut against Cruz Azul on July 21.
Five goals in three games? Not a bad start for Messi and Inter Miami.
Messi gets hit in the face, falls to the ground
Messi collided with Orlando City’s Mauricio Pereyra in 57’ and took some time to get back to his feet shortly after Inter Miami took a 2-1 lead.
It appeared Messi’s jaw hit Pereyra’s shoulder after the two collided with Messi trying to kick a ball with Pereyra closing in.
The collision caused Messi to lay on the field for several minutes.
Trainers began to wipe Messi’s face with a towel, and Messi took some time to regroup. Messi stood up on his own, and began touching his jaw before play continued.
Messi stayed in the game.
Josef Martinez goal: Inter Miami 2, Orlando City 1
Josef Martinez scored on a penalty kick to give Inter Miami a 2-1 lead over Orlando City early in the second half.
Martinez was fouled by Orlando City’s Antonio Carlos on an approach toward the net.
Carlos appeared to yank on Martinez’s arm, causing the referee to issue Carlos a yellow card. The play was reviewed, and the penalty ultimately stood.
And Inter Miami capitalized on the scoring opportunity.
Halftime: Inter Miami, Orlando City tied at 1
We’ve got a chippy contest here as Messi and his Inter Miami teammates have agitated Orlando City during the first half.
It even stretched into the walk back to the locker rooms as Messi and Orlando City’s Carlos Araújo exchanged some pleasantries.
Messi nearly replayed his game-winning kick from his debut, missing a free kick that sailed over the net in the 45th minute.
The play followed a foul where two Orlando City players contested a pass to Inter Miami’s Josef Martinez.
The referees have let them play for the most part, but both teams surely will bring the heighten energy during the second half.
Messi gets his first yellow card with Inter Miami
Messi ran behind and appeared to trip Orlando City’s Wilder Cartagena, whose amazing acting after the sequence led to a yellow card.
It’s Messi’s first yellow card in the MLS.
Messi surely contested the call with the referee, but to no avail.
César Araújo goal: Orlando City 1, Inter Miami 1
Ten minutes after Messi’s opening goal, Orlando City made its presence felt.
César Araújo scored a rebound in 17’, and Orlando City tied the game 1-1.
Inter Miami was tied in Messi’s first game against Cruz Azul, which they won 2-1.
So, it’s not the first tied game Messi has been in with Inter Miami.
Watch Messi’s goal, assisted by Robert Taylor
Messi’s goal comes two minutes faster than his first against Atlanta United about a week ago. And it was assisted by Inter Miami teammate Robert Taylor.
Messi has scored four goals, and counting, in his first three games with Inter Miami.
Entering tonight’s game, Messi had three highlight goals and an assist in two games, both victories for Inter Miami.
Here’s the Messi highlight from his latest goal:
Where to watch Inter Miami vs. Orlando City
Messi and Miami kick off against Orlando City at 8 p.m. ET at DVR PNK Stadium. The game will stream live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
See the full list of Leagues Cup matches here.
Jordi Alba introduced to Inter Miami fans
Inter Miami owners Jorge and Jose Mas, and David Beckham introduced Jordi Alba before the game.
They all posed for a photo with Albi’s new Inter Miami No. 18 jersey at midfield before play began.
Albi — who was Messi’s teammate at FC Barcelona — addressed the crowd, then thanked them as the four walked off the pitch.
Inter Miami, Orlando City take the pitch to warm up after rain delay
The rain has slowed, and the players have begun warming up.
Inter Miami and Orlando City are close to kicking off in their Wednesday night Leagues Cup match.
Inter Miami, Orlando City have new kickoff time
There’s a new kickoff time to tonight’s game, given at 8:35 p.m.
Both teams will begin their warmups again at 8:50 p.m., and kickoff for tonight’s game will be at 9:35 p.m.
A grounds crew began working on the pitch as heavy rain eventually slowed in the Fort Lauderdale area.
Inter Miami, Orlando City weather delay
Wednesday night’s game between both teams has not yet begun due to a weather delay.
Heavy rain started to pour about 30 minutes before kickoff, even as players from both sides began warming up on the pitch.
Fans began to exit the stands and head for cover.
Derek Jeter in attendance for Messi game with Inter Miami
Count Derek Jeter among the celebrities to attend a Messi game with Inter Miami.
“I think everyone is obviously excited with Messi here – arguably one of the greatest players to ever play. A lot of excitement. He’s the talk of the town. I’m just looking forward to watching him play,” Jeter said in an interview with Apple TV in a suite as the rain poured on the pitch before the game.
Jeter, the New York Yankees legend, spent four seasons as CEO of the Miami Marlins, where he built a relationship with David Beckham, the former English soccer star who is a Inter Miami co-owner.
Jeter and Beckham bonded over the change in their roles from star players to team executives during their time together in South Florida.
With Messi in Inter Miami, it feels as if Beckham has found success as a team owner.
“It takes a long time to start a franchise and turn a franchise around,” Jeter said of Beckham. “I couldn’t be more excited for him.”
Will Jordi Alba play for Inter Miami?
One day after being introduced as the newest Inter Miami player, Jordi Alba will not start for his new team against Orlando City.
But Alba – the latest former Messi teammate to join him in Miami – is expected to come off the bench.
Alba has joined Messi and Sergio Busquets as former FC Barcelona players on Inter Miami’s roster.
Alba helped FC Barcelona win six LaLiga titles, five Copa del Rey titles, and the UEFA Champions League title in 2015.
Lionel Messi arrives for third Inter Miami game
Here’s video of Lionel Messi arriving to the stadium before Wednesday night’s game.
Messi has taken the fanfare surrounding his MLS arrival in stride, greeting and posing for pictures with fans.
Messi arrived wearing a pink Inter Miami t-shirt, and black shorts – already in team colors before the match.
Will Lionel Messi play for Inter Miami tonight?
Messi is in the starting lineup against Orlando City, marking his second start with the MLS team.
Messi’s came off the bench during his Inter Miami debut, and played until the 78th minute in his second game.
Here’s the starting lineups for both Inter Miami and Orlando City:
How has Messi fared in his MLS stint so far?
Messi, widely considered the greatest player in the sport, punctuated his first Inter Miami game with a game-winning goal in extra time during the 94th minute on a free kick about 25 yards out. The goal helped Inter Miami beat LIGA MX team Cruz Azul 2-1 on July 21.
Here is Messi’s first Inter Miami highlight:
In Messi’s second game, he scored two goals within the first 22 minutes of the match. He also delivered a second-half assist, leading Inter Miami to a 4-0 victory against Atlanta United on July 25.
Messi’s first goal against Atlanta was in the first nine minutes:
And here’s the highlight of Messi’s second goal against Atlanta, and his third overall so far: