FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – Lionel Messi scored in his third straight game and had his second straight multi-goal performance for Inter Miami in a 3-1 win over Orlando City on Wednesday night.
The Leagues Cup Round of 32 match was delayed 95 minutes due to thunderstorms.
Messi scored seven minutes into the game and added a second strike in the 72nd minute. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has five goals in three games since his much-anticipated MLS debut on July 21.
Avoiding Orlando City’s back line, Messi stopped a pass from Robert Taylor on his chest, dribbled a few yards near the edge of the six-yard box and converted a shot that landed under the crossbar.
The goal gave Inter Miami a 1-0 lead before Orlando equalized 11 minutes later.
Messi struck again when he received a centering pass from Josef Martinez and fired a right-footed shot inside the left post to put Inter Miami ahead 3-1.
Inter Miami also had a scare early in the second half when Orlando’s Mauricio Pereyra collided with Messi. Messi remained on the ground favoring his jaw for a few minutes.
Messi received his first yellow card with Inter Miami after he was cited for a hard foul in the 21st minute.
Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba made his Inter Miami debut when he entered the game in the 64th minute.
The game was scheduled to start at 20, but did not start on time due to the storms.
Messi and his Inter Miami teammates appeared on the DRV PNK Stadium pitch for warm-ups 45 minutes before the scheduled kick-off. The heavy rain started about 20 minutes later.
After the stadium team cleared puddles around midfield, Messi and his team-mates re-emerged for a second round of pre-match warm-ups.
Messi has not dealt with bad weather in his first two Leagues Cup games since joining the MLS club. He scored the game-winning goal against Cruz Azul and added two goals in a win over Atlanta United.