August 2, 2023 -FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Lionel Messi scored in his third straight game and had his second consecutive multi-goal performance for Inter Miami after the start of the Leagues Cup contest against Orlando City on Wednesday night was delayed 95 minutes because of thunderstorms.
Messi scored seven minutes into the match and then added a second strike in the 72nd minute.
On Messi’s first goal, he stopped a pass from Robert Taylor on his chest, dribbled a couple of yards near the edge of the 6-yard box and converted a shot that landed under the crossbar.
The goal gave Inter Miami a 1-0 lead in the Round of 32 match. Orlando tied it 11 minutes later.
Messi struck again when he received a centering pass from Josef Martinez and converted a right-footed shot that landed inside the left post and put Inter Miami ahead 3-1.
Inter Miami also had a scare early in the second half when Orlando’s Mauricio Pereyra collided with Messi. Messi remained on the ground, favoring his jaw for a couple of minutes before reaching his feet.
Messi received his first yellow card with Inter Miami when he was cited for a hard foul in the 21st minute.
Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba made his Inter Miami debut.
The game was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. but didn’t begin on time because of the storms.
Messi and his Inter Miami teammates appeared on the DRV PNK Stadium field for warm-ups 45 minutes before the scheduled start. The heavy rains began approximately 20 minutes later.
After the stadium crew drained water puddles around mid-field, Messi and his teammates re-appeared for a second round of pre-game warm-ups.
Messi has not dealt with inclement weather in his first two Leagues Cup matches since joining the MLS club. He scored the game-winning goal against Cruz Azul and added two goals in a victory over Atlanta United.