Lionel Messi scores 'amazing' goal in Inter Miami FC's 3-2 win over Sporting KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lionel Messi scored his fifth goal and added an assist and Luis Suárez tapped in the winner in the 71st minute as Inter Miami CF defeated Sporting Kansas City 3-2 on Saturday night in front of the third-largest crowd in MLS regular-season history.

Many of the 72,610 who filled Arrowhead Stadium to see Messi weren’t disappointed as he delivered deft passes to create scoring chances — and had a highlight-reel goal.

Messi’s left-footed blast from the top of the penalty arc pushed Miami CF (4-2-3) in front 2-1 in the 51st minute. It was his fourth straight MLS game with a goal.

“It was an amazing goal,” Miami midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi said. “He does this all the time, so it doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s normal from a guy like him.”

With Inter Miami CF trailing 1-0 in the 18th minute, Messi assisted on Diego Gómez’s first-touch right-footer in the middle of the box to tie it.

“The pass that Messi makes and the second goal, the ball that he hits where he hits it from, you don’t see that much in the MLS,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “They can punish you.”

After a defensive mistake by Sporting KC, Suárez converted Gómez’s crossing pass inside the 6-yard box for the lead. It was Suárez’s team-leading sixth of the season and tied him for the league lead.

“We lost the ball three times,” Vermes said. “And they have the quality that when you do, they can punish you."

Inter Miami CF leads the MLS in goals, with 19, and in assists, with 29.

Messi had an excellent chance in the 27th minute on a left-footer from 12 yards, but it was smothered by Kansas City’s Tim Melia.

Messi’s free kick in the 41st minute from 25 yards barely missed wide right.

“Unbelievable player and he can create something out of thin air,” Sporting KC forward Daniel Salloi said. “It was a great experience to play against these guys.”

Erik Thommy opened the scoring for Sporting KC (2-2-4) in the sixth minute on a 16-yard strike. He scored again in the 58th minute on a rebound off Salloi’s corner kick to tie it at 2.

Thommy’s goals were his second and third of the season — and first since opening day.

“I had to take the risk, on the corner,” Thommy said. “I had the confidence and had a good feeling.”

The crowd was 20,000 larger than the previous Sporting KC record set in 2010 during a friendly against Manchester United.

“The environment was out of this world fantastic," Vermes said. “This was incredible.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Sporting KC midfielder Remy Walter left in first-half stoppage time with a lower leg injury.

UP NEXT

Inter Miami FC: hosts Nashville SC on April 20.

Sporting KC: hosts St. Louis City SC on April 20.

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Marc Bowman, The Associated Press