Nashville SC holds Inter Miami to first scoreless draw in the Lionel Messi era

Wednesday’s match was the first that Lionel Messi didn’t score or assist in since joining Inter Miami. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi’s dominant run with Inter Miami had to end sometime.

The club didn’t lose Wednesday night, but it didn’t win for the first time since the Argentinian star joined the organization last month.

Miami and Nashville SC tied 0-0 in their Major League Soccer match on Wednesday night at DRV PNK Stadium in South Florida. Nashville is the first team to keep Miami scoreless in the 10 games of the Messi era. Miami took 13 shots in the match, seven of which were Messi’s though six were blocked by Nashville.

Messi made his debut with Miami about a month ago, and has scored or assisted in every game he has played in entering Wednesday night. He has scored 10 goals in seven Leagues Cup games, and contributed to two in Miami’s wild U.S. Open Cup semifinal win over Cincinnati last week.

Messi scored his first MLS goal in the 89th minute of Miami’s 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Messi has completely turned around Major League Soccer’s last place club since he arrived, and it stung for Nashville. Miami and Nashville ended their Leagues Cup championship game tied 1-1 earlier this month, but then Miami took the game and the title — the club’s first of any kind — in an epic 11-round penalty shootout in Tennessee.

Floyd Mayweather and Ken Griffey Jr. showed up to the game Wednesday night. Griffey was on the sideline with his camera in a neon media vest taking photos of the match.

Despite the excitement, and Miami’s return to Fort Lauderdale after its Leagues Cup win, Miami couldn’t convert a goal. Messi got a good look at a goal with a free kick in the 60th minute, but couldn’t score. He made a late push at the end of stoppage time, but Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis stopped him just before the final whistle blew.

Miami held the possession for 71% of the game and dominated in nearly every category. The club had five shots on goal compared to two from Nashville, and had a 93% passing accuracy. Yet Miami had nine fouls and four yellow cards in the match.

Miami holds a 6-3-14 record with 21 points in MLS, which is no longer the worst in the league. Nashville SC is in seventh in the Eastern Conference standings with an 11-5-9 record and 38 points.

Miami will head next to Los Angeles for a match against LAFC on Sunday.


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