Tata Martino reacts to Inter Miami win as Lionel Messi scores first MLS goal

Lionel Messi came off the bench to score his first goal in his MLS debut to secure Inter Miami’s first win in league play since May 13, triumphing 2-0 over New York Red Bulls.

It was a well-worked team goal for the visitors, as Jordi Alba made an outstanding volleyed pass into the path of Messi, who played a perfect ball to the byline as fellow substitute Benjamin Cremaschi went on to return the pass to Messi for a simple finish.

On the surface, the victory is massive as the Herons will need every result to go their way in order to make the playoffs come late October. However, Miami boss Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino knows that his side will have to grind out more results like this in the coming weeks – without their No. 10.

“We put a lot of value in this win because this [playing with a rotated squad] is something we need to get used to because Leo [Messi] is going to join his national team,” Martino said.

“He’ll miss at least three games this year and next year it will be the same, and we need to understand that when he’s not here the team still needs to provide results,” the ex-Mexico national team manager added.

The Herons fared well without Messi and Sergio Busquets in the starting lineup, as summer signing Diego Gomez put Miami in front in the 37th minute to net his first goal for the south Florida club. Alongside Gomez, fellow signings Facundo Farias and Tomas Aviles also featured in the starting XI at Red Bull Arena.

Miami, fresh off a Leagues Cup victory and a trip to the US Open Cup final against Houston Dynamo, still have a lot of work ahead of them if they are to turn their MLS campaign around.

“In regards to our chances [to make the postseason], they are still very minimal, we cannot cover the reality we’re in,” Martino bluntly stated. “We are very far down in the standings. What we have to do is win the games we have in front of us. If we keep winning, the chances of making it will increase. Today we took the first step.”

The south Florida side return to DRV PNK Stadium on August 30 as they host the team they look down in Leagues Cup final, Nashville SC, in an Eastern Conference showdown.

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