Facundo Farias, Jordi Alba and Leonardo Campana scored goals, Lionel Messi had two assists and Inter Miami increased their unbeaten run to a club record 11 matches with a 3-1 victory over Los Angeles FC on Sunday in a duel of reigning champions.
Drake Callender made five saves as Inter Miami improved to 10-0-1 across all competitions since Messi’s first match with the club on July 21. The run includes a Leagues Cup title in the Aug. 19 final against Nashville SC.
Inter Miami (7-14-4, 25 points) rebounded from a scoreless draw against Nashville on Wednesday, with the club 2-0-1 in MLS play during the Messi era.
Ryan Hollingshead scored off a set piece in the 90th minute for LAFC (11-8-7, 40 points) to avoid the shutout. John McCarthy had three saves for the defending MLS Cup champions, who are in third place in the Western Conference.
LAFC nearly took an early lead after a Denis Bouanga shot from close range in the 11th minute, but Callender punched the ball away with a closed right fist.
Farias gave Inter Miami a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute on a sliding shot from just inside the penalty area after a long through ball from midfield by Tomas Aviles. It was Farias’ first goal with Inter Miami in his third match and second start.
Messi had a prime scoring chance in the 38th minute, but his left-footed shot from near the penalty spot was deflected by McCarthy.
Alba made it 2-0 in the 51st minute when he scored from the center of the penalty area off a long through ball from Messi. Campana sealed the victory when he finished a two-on-one break with a left-footed goal off a Messi pass. The assists were Messi’s first in MLS regular-season action.
Inter Miami started all six of their summer signings together for the first time: Messi, Farias, Aviles, Alba, Sergio Busquets and Diego Gomez.
The star-studded crowd at Los Angeles included Prince Harry of Wales, actors Owen Wilson and Leonardo DiCaprio, musician/actress Selena Gomez and comedian/actor Will Ferrell, who is part of the LAFC ownership group.
—Field Level Media
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