Inter Miami CF have reached their first final in their short history, and will travel to GEODIS Park buoyed by their convincing performances during the knockout phase of Leagues Cup 2023. Whilst the headlines have been made by former Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba - there have been some impactful decisions made by coach Tata Martino. This has led to some iconic goals being scored off the bench by the herons throughout their Leagues Cup 2023 journey. Let’s take a look at the goals scored by substitutes on their way to the final:
Lionel Messi - Inter Miami CF vs Cruz Azul
It was the man for the moment, a moment which will live long in the memory of MLS and soccer fans all over the globe. Lionel Andres Messi entered the pitch on the 54th minute to make his debut for Inter Miami CF to the ovation of the home crowd at DRV PNK Stadium. It wasn’t until injury time when the Argentine stepped up to take a free-kick and put Inter Miami ahead in iconic fashion. It will likely be the most memorable moment in Miami’s history.
Benjamin Cremaschi - FC Dallas vs Inter Miami CF
Inter Miami’s American / Argentine youngster is learning quickly from the older heads that have joined the club in recent weeks. He was vital at the point in the tournament where the Florida side looked in doubt against FC Dallas. 3-1 down in the second half, away from home, Inter Miami needed momentum to get back in the game. Cremaschi comes on in the 64th minute, and only 60 seconds later gets on the scoresheet to pull Miami within one goal of FC Dallas. Jordi Alba provided the low cross for the teenager to finish into the roof of the net. We all know what happened next… The Herons’ Robert Taylor scores an own goal before Inter Miami pull back another goal to make it 4-3. None other than Lionel Messi stepped up with the free-kick to tie the game at 4-4 as Miami went on to win on penalties.
David Ruíz - Philadelphia Union vs Inter Miami CF
David Ruíz was signed as a homegrown player in April and managed to start in his Leagues Cup debut against Cruz Azul. The introduction of Sergio Busquets to Miami’s midfield has limited his participation to bench appearances, but he still managed to make an impact for his side. Let’s fast forward to the recent semi-final tie against Philadelphia Union. The 19-year old was substituted in the 74th minute, and got himself on the scoresheet exactly ten minutes later. It was a counter-attack, and Deandre Yedlin was the provider for the young defensive midfielder to slide in a low finish to seal the deal for the away side and send Miami to their first final.
Inter Miami will now face Nashville SC in the final of Leagues Cup 2023 at GEODIS Park, where the choices of both managers in terms of substitutes will be key to determining the outcome of the match. Follow all the action of Apple TV - MLS Season pass with kick-off set for 21:12 pm ET.