Lionel Messi praises Luis Suarez after vintage performance vs Orlando City

Lionel Messi praises Luis Suarez after vintage performance vs Orlando City
Durch: Erstellt am: März 04, 2024 anzeigen: 23

Luis Suarez turned back the clock against Orlando City with a brace to open his Inter Miami account and Lionel Messi was full of praise for the Uruguayan's performance.

While those on the outside wondered if Suarez still had it in him to compete in MLS -- just after a 2023 season in which he scored 26 goals and added 17 assists with Gremio in Brazil -- he responded with a statement showing to propel his side to a 5-0 victory on Saturday.

The 37-year-old's first goal was a striker's dream, as Julian Gressel was in acres of space and squared the ball across the Orlando penalty area for Suarez to hit first-time to send the fans at Chase Stadium into a frenzy. The former Liverpool and Atletico Madrid figure would go on to add another goal and set up two more in a truly vintage performance from Miami's No. 9.

While there was a lot of outside noise regarding Suarez's level in his first couple of MLS games, Messi revealed he was never worried about the veteran forward finding the back of the net.

Suarez scored his first MLS goals against Orlando / Thaddaeus McAdams/GettyImages

"I'm really happy for him for scoring. Still, we weren't worried at all. I think Luis, what he's capable of doing, everybody knows [what he can do]," Messi said in a postgame interview with Portland Timbers legend Diego Valeri to Apple TV.

"It's like that. When you least expect it, he wins the game for you with the goals and the assists. We're doing well, we're enjoying, we're growing. Today it was important to get the win, to stay on this path of growth. And honestly, it makes us stronger for everything that is yet to come."

It was a brilliant performance from Messi and Suarez as well as Gressel, but the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner praised the entire team for their contributions as they earned their second win of the 2024 MLS season.

"It was a complete performance because we played a great game. We knew we had to come out with a lot of intensity today because Orlando demand it - a lot of bodies crashing, waiting in the back for the counter," said Messi.

"We were lucky to get the first goal, and that changed the whole game. After that we found spaces, we were able to play with more ease and it turned into a different type of game than we were expecting."

Miami have collected seven points from a possible nine to start the regular season after three games played, with Messi and Co. hungry for more as the season ramps up with Concacaf Champions Cup action to begin soon.

Messi also hinted that the team must take advantage of having the nucleus of the squad together before the upcoming Copa America tournament, in which the 36-year-old and several other key figures will depart to represent their countries in late June.

"It's important to start well because then the league stops, another tournament will start. It's good to reach that altitude with some air under your wings, and that's what we've proposed for ourselves: start this way and get the most amount of points possible before Copa America, Leagues Cup and everything that’s coming," he said.

It's been an excellent start to the season for Gerardo 'Tata' Martino's squad, but Messi knows it's only the beginning of a long season the Herons hope will end in a few trophies lifted by December.

"We're aware of the team we've put together to try to fight for MLS [Cup]. We know it's a long road and this is just starting, but the reality is that we're well aware that we have a group that can fight and we're going to go for it."


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