International Soccer

Player ratings as Jordi Alba strikes late in six-goal thriller

Jordi Alba helped rescue a point for Inter Miami in their 3-3 draw vs St Louis CITY, tallying two assists and scoring the equalizing goal just before stoppage time.

For the second consecutive match and the second time in the span of a week, Miami conceded the first goal in the match and failed to pick up three points. Miami gave it a valiant effort in the end, but they once again left it too little too late — which could have big implications near the end of the campaign after picking up just one point out of six available in two home matches.

Jordi Alba was on point for Miami, registering two assists and scoring the goal that knotted things up late on. Although he didn’t have the best of performances during the midweek clash vs Atlanta United, the veteran full-back stole the show and showed his undeniable quality — not that anyone needed him to verify that — just as he did a week ago in Vancouver.

It was a shocking start for the hosts as they conceded the first goal in the match once again — for context, they’ve conceded the first goal in seven of their last 10 matches. Celio Pompeu picked out Christopher Durkin, who was isolated at the top of the Miami penalty area. Durkin then unleashed a curling effort into the near top corner that Drake Callender didn’t even attempt to save in the 15th minute.

However, the Herons would respond 10 minutes later. After the legendary Lionel Messi danced around the St Louis penalty area, he picked out former Spain international Jordi Alba — who then returned the favor with a quick cutback pass to Miami’s No. 10. In the blink of an eye, Messi sent in a curling effort with his wand of a left foot that Roman Burki managed to get a hand but couldn’t keep out of his net.

Minutes before the halftime break, the visitors would retake the lead after a turnover in possession in Miami’s half. Hosei Kijima — who was subbed on before the 30th minute mark after Rasmus Alm sustained an injury — played Indiana Vassilev through on goal with a simple pass that sliced the Miami defense open.

Vassilev looked up and fired a near-post effort past Callender and refused to celebrate after scoring against his former club. St Louis were in front 2-1, and Callender probably should’ve done better at his near post despite the pace that was on Vassilev’s strike.

Despite going down twice in the first half, Miami‘s ‘never-give-up’ mentality was on full display Saturday night. Jordi Alba played a cutback pass across the face of goal that managed to find its way into Luis Suarez’s path, and the Uruguay international made no mistake with an excellent finish from a very tight angle.

The visitors would go on to regain the lead near the midway point in the second half. Durkin got on the end of a St Louis corner kick and his headed effort appeared to have taken a deflection off Suarez’s head before crossing the goal line.

However, the Herons would bring the game to level terms for the third time on the night. As if two assists as a full-back wasn’t enough, Alba latched on to a lofted through-ball from substitute Julian Gressel and finished with composure to bring the score to 3-3 just before the 90th minute.

Miami retained their first-place position in the Supporters’ Shield standings despite the draw with 35 points, but FC Cincinnati aren’t too far behind with 33 points and two games in hand. The draw saw St Louis remain in 11th place in the Western Conference with 17 points, just two points away from a playoff spot.

Lionel Messi

Messi captains the Herons / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

GK: Drake Callender – 5/10 – Nothing he could do about Durkin’s strike. However, there’s no excuse for him being beaten at his near post on Vassilev’s goal.

RB: Marcelo Weigandt – 6/10 – Solid overall. Linked up well with his teammates down the right-hand side.

CB: Tomas Aviles – 6/10 – Put in a few strong tackles but didn’t help close down on Durkin’s goal.

CB: Serhiy Kryvtsov – 5/10 – A subpar outing from the veteran defender who was nowhere near Vassilev on St Louis’ second goal.

LB: Jordi Alba – 9/10 – Outside of a few lapses in defense, Alba was spectacular going forward with two pin-point accurate assists as well as a late equalizer.

CM: Federico Redondo – 6/10 – Didn’t look to close down Durkin on his goal. Unfortunate to be substituted off inside the first half-hour of play due to injury.

CM: Sergio Busquets – 7/10 – Another strong performance from the midfield general as he helped recycle possession.

CM: Matias Rojas – 6/10 – He hit a few well-timed diagonal passes early on but was quiet otherwise. He wasn’t deployed in his preferred position and he seemed a little out of sorts.

RW: Lionel Messi – 8/10 – The Argentinian leveled the score in the first 45 with a sensational effort off his left foot.

ST: Luis Suarez – 7/10 – Miami’s No. 9 helped bring the game to level terms once again with a calm and composed finish from a tight angle.

LW: Robert Taylor – 5/10 – Practically a bystander for most, if not all, of the match.

Substitutes

SUB: Benjamin Cremaschi (30′ for Redondo) – 6/10

SUB: Ryan Sailor (46′ for Kryvtsov) – 6/10

SUB: Julian Gressel (69′ for Rojas) – 7/10

SUB: Leo Campana (69′ for Taylor) – 6/10

Manager

Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – 6/10 – His starting XI was a little bit of a head scratcher by trying to play Rojas in a central midfield role. Once he exited the game and Julian Gressel came on, Miami played with a little more balance. It seems like he was trying to incorporate Messi, Suarez, Taylor and Rojas into one lineup, but it kind of backfired as they dropped points at home against a subpar St Louis side.

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