Lionel Messi gets 2 goals at record New England crowd; Miami beats Revolution 4-1

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Lionel Messi scored two goals to excite a New England Revolution-record crowd, leading Inter Miami CF to a 4-1 victory on Saturday night.

Messi didn’t disappoint the crowd of 65,612 that filled Gillette Stadium, scoring on a left-footed kick from deep inside the box for his ninth goal of the season, breaking a 1-all tie in the 68th minute.

The attendance beat the previous record of 61,316, when the Revolution lost to the LA Galaxy in the 2002 MLS final.

In the opening half, he was a few feet inside the box, scoring on a left-foot kick to tie it at 1-1 in the 33rd minute.

When the 36-year-old 2022 World Cup winner scored, loud cheers echoed around the stands in a match that featured the Eastern Conference’s first-place Miami against the last-place Revolution.

Benjamin Cremaschi and Luis Suárez each scored late for Miami.

The Revolution had made it 1-0 in the opening minute when Tomas Chancalay beat a defender and dropped a shot over goaltender Drake Callender, who was charging out.

Even with the local winter professional teams — the Celtics and Bruins — both in the playoffs, much of the sports landscape centered around Messi’s visit this week.

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Entering the stadium about 90 minutes before the match were hundreds of fans, mostly kids, wearing the pink Miami Messi jersey.

They were easily seen mixed in once the stadium was filled.

Sprinkled in were some of the Messi No. 10 Argentina white-and-blue-striped jerseys.

“I am so excited,” said Stacy Mills, 31, a traveling nurse from East Tennessee, who was wearing one of the Messi Argentina jerseys. “I’ve actually followed him since he was playing with Barcelona.”

Her friend, Caleadia Jessup, 53, also a travel nurse, from Fayetteville, North Carolina, was proud to show off her Messi Argentina one, too.

“I followed him when he played for the home country in the World Cup,” she said, smiling.

For many kids, it was a chance to watch a soccer great at the former home of a player that is referred to as NFL’s GOAT (Greatest of all time), Tom Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.

“I’ve been playing since I was young. He’s my favorite player,” Cameron Howell, 14, from Halifax, Massachusetts, said about the Miami star.

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Inter Miami: At New York on May 4.

New England: Hosts Chicago on May 4.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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