Lionel Messi’s future club Inter Miami suffered a sixth straight defeat and remained rooted to the bottom of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference after a 3-1 defeat at the New England Revolution on Saturday.
If Messi, who announced this week he intended to join Miami, was tuning in to watch what awaits him in MLS, his disappointment at his new club’s dismal form would have been tempered by a wonder goal from his compatriot, Lucas Zelarayan of Columbus.
Three minutes into stoppage time, with the game at 1-1, the Crew’s Zelarayan won the game at Chicago with an audacious shot from inside his own half that became an instant goal-of-the-season contender.
That level of technical brilliance was in stark contrast to the performance of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s future teammates as they continued their miserable run of form.
New England took a 27th-minute lead with a Carles Gil penalty after former Newcastle United fullback DeAndre Yedlin gave away a penalty with a clumsy foul on Matt Polster.
Miami’s troubles were compounded when French midfielder Corentin Jean was stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious injury.
Minutes later, New England doubled the lead with an angled Polster header from a Gil corner.
The Revolution made sure of the win in the 51st minute with some dreadful defending allowing Bobby Wood to fire in the third.
Although Josef Martinez provided some minor consolation for Miami with an 84th minute penalty, Inter suffered a second straight loss under interim coach Javier Morales.
– Perfectly executed –
The Crew took the lead at Chicago through a deflected strike from Cucho Hernandez in the 58th minute but the Fire looked to have earned a point when Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri levelled in the 88th minute.
But with seconds remaining, Zelarayan spotted Chicago goalkeeper Spencer Richey off his line and beat him with a perfectly executed effort from five yards behind the half-way line.
Champions Los Angeles FC have had a bad week — after losing the CONCACAF Champions League final to Mexico’s Leon on Sunday and being held to a goal-less draw at home to Atlanta on Wednesday, Steve Cherundolo’s side fell to a 4-0 defeat at Houston.
Nelson Quinones cut in from the left and fired a right-foot shot into the far corner in the 11th minute and then French-born Morocco international Amine Bassi made it 2-0 from the spot.
Corey Bair took full advantage of some sloppy defending to add the third and then Franco Escobar completed the rout with a long-range strike in the final minute.
Eastern Conference leaders Cincinnati had to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Vancouver Whitecaps after taking the lead through another inspired Argentine finish by substitute Luciano Acosta.
Acosta looked to have won the game for Cincy with a delightful chip over Whitecaps Japanese ‘keeper Yohei Takaoka in the 83rd minute.
But a minute from the end, Cincinnati defender Matt Miazga got tangled up with Sergio Cordova and Vancouver’s Ryan Gauld drilled home from the penalty spot for a 1-1 draw.
There was plenty of drama in Charlotte, where the Seattle Sounders took the lead with a brilliant strike from outside the box from Peruvian Raul Ruidiaz.
But the home side fought back with a beautiful curling strike from former Burnley midfielder Ashley Westwood in the 53rd.
Ruidiaz, who has only recently returned from injury, restored Seattle’s advantage in the 70th minute, turning in at the back post but Charlotte rallied once again with Patrick Agyemang’s 89th minute header ensuring a 3-3 draw.
Wayne Rooney’s D.C. United fell to a 3-1 loss at Atlanta United with Greece forward Giorgos Giakoumakis putting the home side ahead before his compatriot Taxiarchis Fountas levelled for D.C.
Andrew Gutman, set up superbly by Argentina Thiago Almada, put the Georgia club 2-1 ahead and then the left wing-back provided the low cross for Tyler Wolff to tap-in.
Mexican Alan Pulido scored twice for Sporting Kansas City as they thrashed Austin 4-1 and Mason Toye also had a brace for Montreal in a 4-0 crushing of Minnesota.
Peruvian Miguel Trauco’s blast from 25 yards gave the San Jose Earthquakes a 2-1 win over 2022 beaten finalist Philadelphia.