Home Sports Lionel Messi breaks personal and MLS records with goal and 5 assists in a single half

Lionel Messi breaks personal and MLS records with goal and 5 assists in a single half

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - MAY 4: Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF celebrates with Luis Suarez #9 after scoring a goal in the 50th minute against the New York Red Bulls during the second half of the game at DRV PNK Stadium on May 4, 2024 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi has been tearing up Major League Soccer, and with each passing game, his exploits become more magnificent, more comical, and, in some ways, more… mundane.

He’s racking up goals and assists week after week, at a silly pace, so silly that each successive game feels more and more unfair and less and less notable.

But Messi’s latest game, Saturday in South Florida against the New York Red Bulls, was unlike any he or MLS had produced before.

Inter Miami trailed 1-0 at halftime. In the 81st minute, Messi had scored a goal and assisted five others.

The five assists were an MLS single-game record. The six goal contributions were an MLS single-game record.

Both were also the most that Messi had recorded in a single match throughout his brilliant and unmatched career. (His previous record for assists by him in a single game was three.)

And he did it all in one half: in less than 33 minutes, to be precise.

His first assist was a relatively light lift. Inter Miami’s new signing, Matías Rojas, received a pass from Messi, beat a Red Bull and picked the top corner from 25 yards away.

But Messi’s second assist, also to Rojas, was devilish:

His fourth was ridiculous, a testament to both his brilliance and the inferiority of his opponents.

The Red Bulls gave him time and space during the second half. In the 75th minute, Messi overcame an entire midfield line with a single cut, ran onto the green grass and then played a one-two-three with Luis Suárez at the top of the box to create Suárez’s second goal of the night .

Messi also assisted Suárez’s first, about eight minutes earlier.

And about five minutes into the second, Suarez again exploited an out-of-sync defensive line. Messi found it. Suarez rounded a hapless goalkeeper, completing his hat-trick and putting Inter Miami into a 6-1 lead.

Oh, and Messi had also scored a goal among the five assists. He and Suárez took advantage of a Red Bulls loss in the defensive third. Each one just needed a touch.

The six goal contributions brought Messi to an absurd 22 for the season, in seven and a half MLS games. That’s almost three goal contributions every 90 minutes.

He is almost halfway to the MLS record for assists in a single season (26) and the record for goals plus assists (49). beginnings of Mayand despite missing four games due to rest or injury.

He may not rewrite every line in the league’s record book, because he will be away for a month starting in June for the 2024 Copa América. Ultimately, he could play only about 25 of the team’s 34 regular-season games. Inter Miami’s MLS.

But he’s tearing up the league at a rate never seen before.

He’s also creating goals at a rate unprecedented even for him, even at 36 and 37.

MLS statisticians are generous with awarding assists, but even if we go by the global definition, Messi now has 2.53 non-penalty goals plus assists per 90 minutes, on track to break his personal record of 1.80 in a single season, based in Barcelona in La Liga in 2012-13, by FBref.

Needless to say, he leads MLS in both goals and assists, despite missing those few games. And Inter Miami sits atop the Eastern Conference about a third of the way through the regular season.

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