New York RB vs Inter Miami Player Ratings – Messi ends MLS debut with goal in hard-fought win

  • Lionel Messi made his MLS debut from the bench in New Jersey at the Red Bull Arena
  • A tightly contested first half opened up by Gómez’s debut goal
  • Luquinhas and Tolkin couldn’t find a way through for New York RB
Lionel Messi
Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

New York RB Player Ratings: Luquinhas unable to get a breakthrough

Carlos Coronel 6/10 – only had one save to make other than goals

Cameron Harper 6.5/10 – had a greater impact in 2nd half as he took up a more advanced role

Andrés Reyes 6.5/10 – was involved in a physical battle with Farias all night and held his own

Sean Nealis 6/10 – led his team well and was important in the air

John Tolkin 7/10 – a danger from set pieces and was main conduit to create chances early on

Daniel Edelman 7/10 – did well to construct play from the base of midfield and retain possession

Frankie Amaya 6.5/10 – a good performance in midfield to make it difficult for Miami

Dru Yearwood 5.5/10 – sacrificed at halftime after having little effect

Omir Fernandez 6/10 – unable to influence the game with his dribbling

Luquinhas 7/10 – the brightest creative spark for the home side, tried to make things happen

Elias Manoel 5.5/10 – isolated and without much to do, made way for Barlow


Tom Barlow 6/10 – gave more attacking threat with a physical display
Peter Stroud 6/10 – tried to make it harder for opponent in transition, faded later on
Cory Burke 5/10
– only had two touches, winning a couple of aerial battles
Jorge Cabezas N/A
Wikelman Carmona N/A

Inter Miami Player Ratings: Callender earns cleansheet win

Drake Callender 8/10 – unflustered at set pieces and strong shot stopping making three saves inside the box

Robert Taylor 6/10 – showed his versatility by employing himself well at right wingback before being replaced

Jordi Alba 7/10 – constant thorn in Red Bulls’ side by his raids down the left

Tomás Avilés 6/10 – caught out once but otherwise a strong display

Kemal Miller 6/10 – tasked with leading his less experienced defensive partners, solid game

Noah Allen 7/10 – excellent in an unfamiliar role, won all his duels

David Ruiz 6/10 busy hour in the middle, never took full control but wasn’t overrun

Dixon Arroyo 6.5/10 – did very well to adapt to demands of the game when New York upped the pressure

Diego Gómez 7.5/10 – started slow but grew in confidence after a well taken goal and was impressive on the left before leaving the game late on

Facundo Farias 7/10 – bright and energetic debut, tried to make things happen

Leonardo Campana 6.5/10 – strong sixty minutes for the Ecuadorean who was tireless up top and won defensive headers at set pieces


Lionel Messi 7/10 – individual brilliance as expected, his pass in build up to his goal was out of this world
DeAndre Yedlin  6.5/10 – thrown into the game where New York were attacking most and put out fires
Sergio Busquets 7/10 – changed the rhythm of the game to suit his style and the rest of the team
Benjamin Cremaschi N/A
Robbie Robinson N/A

New York RB vs Inter Miami Match Summary and Highlights

It was a night of debuts for the visitors with Diego Gómez, Facundo Farias and Tomás Avilés all making their MLS bow – but of course all eyes were on Lionel Messi who emerged from the bench on 60 minutes. The Herons had started with a different formation to what we’ve seen recently with Robert Taylor and Jordi Alba as wingbacks with the latter the early outlet. As both sides only played with one striker the first half saw little goalmouth action until Paraguayan Diego Gómez arrived late in the box to score on the turn for the away side. New York RB thought they had a chance to equalize when a penalty was given for handball only to be overturned by VAR.

The second half was more open as New York came out the blocks with more energy and intensity led by substitutes Peter Stroud and Tom Barlow. Callender had to be at his best to stop a Fernández header and several pot shots as the home side threatened. But with the introduction of Messi and more importantly Sergio Busquets the visitors were able to see out the game registering just one shot on target in the second period.

The result means New York Red Bulls drop out of the playoff spots while Inter Miami move off the bottom rung of the Eastern Conference ladder. With some games in hand over their local rivals there is growing hope among Tata Martino’s side that they can make the postseason.

Man of the Match: Drake Callender

Drake Callender
Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

For all of Inter Miami’s industry further forward it was the 25-year-old goalkeeper that played the most important role in their shutout victory. Callender was called upon four times having to make three smart saves inside the box to keep his side ahead. The side from South Florida has struggled from set pieces but despite facing 10 corner kicks the stopper kept his side organized and claimed high balls when tested. An all round great display from the US international goalkeeper.

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