Messi scores 12th goal of the season as Miami draws with St. Louis

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FORT LAUDERDALE, June 2, (AP): Lionel Messi scored his 12th goal of the season in his last Major League Soccer match before the Copa America, and MLS-leading Inter Miami came from behind to tie St. Louis City 3-3.

Miami (10-3-5, 35 points) took a two-point lead atop the Eastern Conference standings, ahead of second-place Cincinnati (10-3-3, 33 points), which did not play Saturday.
Luis Suárez also scored his 12th goal for Inter Miami, and Jordi Alba had the tying goal in the 85th minute.

Suárez and Messi are now tied for the team lead in goals, and are one shy of the MLS lead behind Cristian Arango of Real Salt Lake and Christian Benteke of D.C. United, who both have 13. Messi’s 12 have come in four fewer games than Arango (16 games) and three fewer than Benteke.

Chris Durkin and former Inter Miami player Indiana Vassilev scored in the first half for St. Louis. Suárez had an own goal in the 69th minute that looked to seal the win for St. Louis until Alba tapped in a goal that was originally called back for offside, but overturned after video review.
Messi dribbled seamlessly through St. Louis defenders in the first half and sent a pass to Alba, who fired it back to Messi for a shot that tied it at 1 early on. It was Alba’s second assist of the night.
Messi exited the field to cheers.

“Leo, he played well today. A perfect match,” Inter Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said through a translator.
Messi will join Argentina next week on a quest to defend the Copa America title it won in 2021, when the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner tearfully lifted his first major trophy for his national team, filling in one of the biggest gaps in his decorated career.

Messi – and potentially Suárez, who could represent Uruguay – could miss at least five Inter Miami matches during the tournament. Copa America runs from June 20 through July 14. After Copa, Inter Miami could lose players again when national teams call for the Paris Olympics, which run from July 26 to August 11

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