Suarez comes off bench for brace as Miami without Messi beat D.C

AFP , Saturday 16 Mar 2024

Luis Suarez came off the bench and scored twice as Inter Miami, without the injured Lionel Messi, won 3-1 at D.C. United in Major League Soccer on Saturday.

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez #9 of Inter Miami celebrates after scoring a goal against the D.C. United during the second half at Audi Field on March 16, 2024, in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP


Suarez continued his prolific start to life in MLS with his sixth goal in seven games in all competitions for the South Florida club.

Miami had failed to win their last seven games without Messi, a run going back to September, but despite that record, coach Gerardo Martino left Suarez and Jordi Alba on the bench.

Of the four ex-Barcelona stars available to Martino, only Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets started at Audi Field and the home side sensed the chance for an upset.

That belief increased when Jared Stroud scored for D.C. United, latching onto a Mateusz Kilch pass and firing a first-time shot past Drake Callender.

The lead lasted only for 10 minutes, however, with Leonardo Campana leading the Miami attacking in place of Suarez, seeing a header saved by Alex Bono but then, after D.C. failed to clear, turning in after the ball was scooped to him by Federico Redondo.

Busquets delivered a superb cross-field pass to set Robert Taylor in down the left but his low drive clipped the outside of the post on the stroke of half-time.

Uruguayan Suarez was brought on in the 62nd minute and -- after Christian Benteke had headed over for United -- the 37-year-old was to settle the contest.

Just 10 minutes after coming on Suarez finished off a fine move, turning in a low cross from Campana at the back post.

Then Diego Gomez, Miami's powerful Paraguayan midfielder, won the ball in midfield and broke forward, finding Suarez, whose route to goal was initially blocked.

But Suarez was able to find space for a chip that Bono clawed at but was unable to stop crossing the line.

D.C United had Pedro Santos sent off after he brought down substitute Shanyder Borgelin in the final minute.

At Soldier Field in Chicago, Kellyn Acosta scored a remarkable wind-assisted stoppage time winner from inside his own half as the home side defeated Montreal 4-3.

The Canadian side led 3-2 at the end of normal time but Belgian Hugo Cuypers poked in an equalizer for the Fire in the fifth minute of added time.

In the last of nine minutes stoppage time, Acosta got possession just inside his own half and launched a long ball towards the box which caught a strong gust of wind and sailed over stranded Montreal keeper Jonathan Sirois.

Later on Saturday, champions Columbus Crew play host the New York Red Bulls and Los Angeles FC travel to improving Minnesota.

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