How to watch and stream



  • DRV PNK Stadium | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Messi delivered a 2-1 win over Liga MX side Cruz Azul in his first-ever Inter Miami match, an iconic free kick in the 94th minute that’s since gone viral on social media and brought worldwide attention to MLS. It was a stunning moment from the Argentine superstar and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, whose midsummer arrival to South Beach is just getting going.

Now, the question is what follow-up act Messi has in store – and if head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino hands their No. 10 a start. Messi subbed on in the 54th minute last Saturday and is working towards full fitness. But he doesn’t need the full 90 to impact a match, delivering another highlight-reel moment with his magical left foot.

A similar minutes-load conversation surrounds new Inter Miami midfielder Sergio Busquets, the second of three FC Barcelona legends who have joined the club in recent days – the other being fellow Spain national team all-time great Jordi Alba. Busquets entered the Cruz Azul match alongside Messi and showed his elite passing/tactical vision, while Alba’s debut still awaits following the birth of his child.

Despite Miami’s struggles in the MLS regular season, the Messi Effect makes for destination viewing. Up next: Season 1, Chapter 2.

Inconic debut for Inter Miami | Messi Rewind presented by adidas

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada is hoping to one-up Messi; he made history last December alongside the GOAT when Argentina defeated France for their first World Cup title since 1986. That made Almada the first-ever active MLS player to lift the sport’s biggest prize, helping fuel speculation that he may set a new league outbound transfer record if the right offer comes.

Elsewhere, Atlanta eagerly welcome Miles Robinson‘s return after the center back represented the US during their Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal run. And striker Giorgos Giakoumakis appears healthy again after representing Atlanta, alongside Almada, at last week’s MLS All-Star Game presented by Target vs. Premier League powerhouse Arsenal FC.

The Five Stripes are also expected to debut French midfielder Tristan Muyumba, whose work paperwork got approved after an early-July move from Ligue 2 side EA Guingamp. Muyumba is the club’s biggest Secondary Transfer Window arrival, but that could change with their open Designated Player slot following Luiz Araújo’s transfer to Brazilian side Flamengo.

Will these factors be enough to derail the Messi Show?

Thiago Almada: Player of the Month February/March 2023

Who will advance?

Leagues Cup group play uses the following points system. Group-stage games can’t end in a tie; they proceed directly to a penalty kick shootout.

  • 3 points for regulation win
  • 2 points for draw/PKs win
  • 1 point for draw/PKs loss 
  • 0 points for regulation loss

Given that structure, a victory would ensure Inter Miami top group South 3 (on six points) and proceed into the knockout stage, which begins Aug. 2-4 with Round of 32 games. If Inter Miami draw, they must wait until Atlanta host Cruz Azul on July 29 to determine the final standings.

Each group’s top two teams reach a knockout stage that builds toward an Aug. 19 final.

What is at stake?

Aside from the trophy and regional rivalry bragging rights, prize money and three 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup berths are on the line.

This unfolds as all 47 MLS and Liga MX teams compete in a World Cup-style knockout tournament and pause domestic competition.

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