Record crowd in KC sees Lionel Messi, Miami get win


Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami dribbles the ball during the second half of a Major League Soccer game against Sporting Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium on April 13, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. 

A Kansas City soccer record 72,610 fans saw Inter Miami defeat Sporting Kansas City 3-2 Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium, with the main attraction playing a pivotal role in the win. 

Lionel Messi, the main reason the match was moved from Sporting’s normal home stadium of Children’s Mercy Park to Arrowhead -- home of the NFL’s Chiefs -- had a goal and an assist for Miami. The crowd was more than 20,000 larger than the 52,424 that saw the then-Kansas City Wizards defeat Manchester United 2-1 at Arrowhead in an exhibition match in July 2010. 

Messi put Miami (4-2-3, 15 points) up 2-1 in the 51st minute with a rocket from well beyond the 18-yard box. He collected the ball around 25 yards out and found the upper-right corner of the SKC net. The lead didn’t last very long, however, as Erik Thommy got his second goal of the night in the 58th minute. Sporting (2-2-4, 10 points) had a corner kick that was deflected by a Miami defender. 

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It floated out to Thommy, who kissed it off the right post and into the net. Miami scored the decisive goal on a mistake by Sporting KC in the 71st minute. Jake Davis was displaced by Diego Gomez, who dribbled into the box and found an open Luis Suarez. 

Sporting got on the board in the sixth minute to open the scoring. Tim Leibold picked off a pass on the Miami side of midfield and raced forward. He had several options for his first pass and chose Thommy to the right just outside the 18-yard box. 

Thommy waited momentarily for an opening in the Miami defense and then fired a shot to the far-left side of the net past Miami keeper Drake Callender. Miami responded in the 18th minute. Messi fed a streaking Gomez, who left SKC keeper Tim Melia with no chance and forged a 1-1 tie. 

Messi nearly put Miami up in the 41st minute when he drilled a free kick just to the right of the SKC net. Sporting nearly returned the favor moments later as Willy Agada used a spin move to work himself open, but his shot was right at Callender, who stopped it easily. 

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