Inter Miami secured a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City, and the spotlight was on Leonardo Campana, who stepped up in the absence of their star player, Lionel Messi, currently representing Argentina in World Cup qualifiers.
Facundo Farias scored an important third goal for Inter Miami to increase the tally. With a record of 8 victories, 14 defeats, and 4 ties, the squad is presently sitting in the 14th spot in the Eastern Conference.
Inter Miami had been on a fantastic 11-0-1 streak in a cup and MLS games since Messi joined the squad, thus this game was a big test for them. Messi had made a substantial impact, contributing 11 goals and 8 assists and turning their fortunes around after an 11-game winless streak before his debut on July 21.
Campana acknowledged Messi’s absence but highlighted the confidence instilled by Messi, stating, “As I mentioned on Friday, we knew Leo’s absence would be felt, but he has instilled immense confidence in the team. We now believe in ourselves and know our capabilities. We are delighted with the result and the three points.”
Lionel Messi played a pivotal role in Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Ecuador, scoring the winning goal in the World Cup qualifier. He had another national team commitment against Bolivia on Tuesday but was scheduled to return to Miami for the team’s next league match against Atlanta FC the following Saturday.
Miami coach Tata Martino emphasized Messi’s influence on the team, stating, “We are all aware that when he is with us, we perform at our best. We have the capability to win any type of match. That being said, for a group of players who work tirelessly and are teammates of the world’s best player, his absence is uplifting as they know they can still secure victories.”
The absence of Messi was not only felt on the field but also in the stands, with noticeable empty seats despite the crowd’s enthusiasm, including continuous singing throughout the match and exuberant celebrations after each goal.
In addition to Messi, seven other Inter Miami players were unable to participate in the game due to obligations to their respective national teams.
In the 45th minute, Campana’s second goal broke the 1-1 tie. After making a strong move down the right side, DeAndre Yedlin found Campana, who soared above the defence and headed the ball past Tim Melia of Sporting KC.
Campana commented, “I feel that I’ve steadily improved throughout the season,” in response to his performance. Although things didn’t go well at first, we have now discovered the correct course via persistent hard effort.
Farias extended the lead to 3-1 with his goal in the 60th minute. Sergio Busquets’ precise free-kick from midfield found Farias in open space, and he advanced into the penalty area without any challenge, unleashing a right-footed shot from 15 yards that beat Melia.
Sporting KC managed to narrow the gap to 3-2 when Alan Pulido scored in the 78th minute.
Coach Tata Martino expressed confidence in the team’s performance, stating, “This victory strengthens our belief in having a strong team. We know we can continue achieving results like we did tonight.”
Inter Miami initially fell behind in the early minutes of the match when Dániel Sallói scored for Sporting KC. Nine minutes into the game, goalkeeper Drake Callender deflected Felipe Gutierrez’s long-range shot but couldn’t clear it. Sallói seized the loose ball inside the 6-yard box and slotted it home with a right-footed shot into the right post.
Inter Miami levelled the score at 1-1 on Campana’s penalty kick in the 25th minute. Melia fouled Campana near the 6-yard box, making contact around the neck area. Campana confidently dispatched the penalty into the left side of the net.