Messi Magic Sinks FC Dallas in Penalty Kicks, Looking Forward to MLS Regular Season

By: Anthony Miller

In one of the wildest soccer games of the season, Lionel Messi shined once again for Inter Miami with two goals as they eliminated FC Dallas from the Leagues Cup in penalty kicks Sunday night.

In front of a sold-out crowd of over 20,000 fans, soccer fans rejoiced to see Messi’s first road game of his MLS career. Everyone soon quickly learned if Messi was ready to go as he scored a goal in the sixth minute to give Inter Miami a 1-0 lead. It took over 30 minutes for FC Dallas to respond and they responded in a big way. Facundo Quignon scored FC Dallas’ first goal off a beautiful cross from Marco Farfan to tie the game in the 37th minute. Eight minutes later, Bernard Kamungo would score for FC Dallas off the assist from Jesus Ferreira to give them a 2-1 lead going into halftime.

FC Dallas kicked off the second half with Alan Velasco scoring a goal in the 63rd minute to increase the FC Dallas led to 3-1. It wouldn’t take Inter Miami long to score a goal in the 65th minute as the lead went down to 3-2. This is when chaos ensued as three minutes later, Inter Miami had an own goal to give FC Dallas a 4-2 lead in the 68th minute. FC Dallas returned the favor with an own goal to make the game 4-3. It concluded with the crusher in the 85th minute as Messi took a free kick and connected the ball with the back of the net to make the score 4-4.

For the second time in the Leagues Cup, FC Dallas was forced into penalty kicks. It started well for FC Dallas as it was a 1-1 tie heading into the second round. Paxton Pomykal ran into issues on his penalty kick hitting the ball over the net as they found themselves down 2-1 after two rounds. FC Dallas never recovered from the miss as Inter Miami would win the penalty kicks 5-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Observations from the Game

The obvious observation is Messi proved to everyone once again why he is the GOAT scoring two goals in the contest and scoring one more goal in penalty kicks. He looked like the best player on the pitch and not many can argue with that. His free kick late in the second half demonstrated why he has taken over MLS and scored seven goals in four games.

FC Dallas’ MVP was Velasco who scored a goal in the game. More importantly, he seemed he was trying to step his game up with Messi on the field with him. His dribbling and decision making is what helped Velasco be the point man throughout the game for FC Dallas.

While the offense finally came alive for FC Dallas which has been a rare sight, there were still missed opportunities from the team throughout the contest. Goals being called offsides and poor execution defensively did not help things for FC Dallas. Twice in the match they had two-goal leads but were not to close them out. The own goal in the 80th minute was ultimately what the team will look back at as the moment that momentum was lost.

Resetting for MLS Season

With the loss in the Leagues Cup, FC Dallas finds themselves eliminated from the tournament. They now will have two weeks off before they take the pitch on August 20 to face Philadelphia Union in Pennsylvania.

FC Dallas is coming off losing two of their last three regular season games. They are currently 8th in the Western Conference standings with in-state rivals Houston Dynamo just a point behind them. Their next three opponents (Philadelphia Union, St. Louis City SC, and Austin FC) are all sitting in the top five of their conferences. FC Dallas will be home six times in the last 11 games of the regular season.

Only five teams this season in MLS have scored fewer goals than FC Dallas so the biggest focus for the team will be to improve their offensive performances in games. The good news is the team is getting healthy at the right time so they will lean on players like Ferreira, Jader Obrian, Velasco, Kamungo, and more to score goals for the team. If FC Dallas can improve their offense and support goalkeeper Maarten Paes better defensively, FC Dallas could go on a late season run leading to the playoffs.

Featured Image via Twitter (@FCDallas)

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