In his first game with Inter Miami in MLS, Lionel Messi scored the game-capping goal in a 2-0 road victory against the Red Bulls.
Messi entered the game in the 60th minute as a replacement in the Herons’ squad, who were already leading the score by 1-0. When he stepped on the pitch, a small group of New York fans booed. However, their voices were quickly and decisively drowned out by shouts from every corner of Red Bull Arena.
Meanwhile, the 37-year-old put on a show for the home spectators by scoring. The Argentine legend played a fantastic through ball that was finished off with a tap-in goal. The tally gave his team a cushion with which to seal the victory.
Tickets for Messi’s MLS debut skyrocketed
For Inter Miami, this was Messi’s 11th goal of the season. His previous high was 10 goals in 7 games, which he accomplished during their Leagues Cup run.
Messi’s brief stint in the United States, which included appearances in both Open Cup play and the club’s recent Leagues Cup victory, has been a game-changer. For the team founded by David Beckham in 2020, this was their first title.
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Seeing as how Saturday’s game was Messi’s first regular season Major League Soccer game, demand for tickets skyrocketed. Prices were up a thousand percent from what they normally would have been for a New York Red Bulls game.
For last weekend’s game, the average price was $483, according to ticket reseller VividSeats’ interview with CNN. That is far more than the average price of $46 for a ticket to see the Major League Soccer club play in Harrison, New Jersey, which is about half an hour outside of Manhattan.
How did ESPN react to the NY Red Bulls selling Messi merchandise?
It is also worth noting that in preparation for their match against Miami, the New York Red Bulls were seen selling Lionel Messi T-shirts at their team store, the BullShop. Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez, of ESPN’s Futbol Americas show, have criticized the club for marketing Messi merchandise.
“Small club mentality, this is weak. If there are any Red Bull fans, they surely must be just absolutely disappointed in this, come on,” Salazar commented. “It’s a completely outfitted league by Adidas. He is an Adidas athlete, I don’t know what mandates they are, but this to me isn’t as bad,” Gomez replied.
They were also perplexed by the fact that the New York Red Bulls needed the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s presence to fill their stadium.
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