There were only five games in the Major League Soccer this weekend, but there was no shortage of excitement and entertainment.
The MLS matchday included outstanding goalkeeping performances, and an important win for the league's resurgent Inter Miami, who played the game without their new Argentine star, Lionel Messi.
Miami Without Messi Defeats Kansas City
With Lionel Messi out of the lineup to play in a pair of World Cup qualifiers with reigning champion Argentina, Inter Miami got two goals from Leonardo Campana to beat Sporting Kansas City 3-2 on Saturday night.
Facundo Farias added the third goal for Miami, which remains in 14th place in the Eastern Conference table. The match was a test for Inter, which has an 11-0-1 record in cup and MLS matches since Messi's arrival at the club.
The Argentine star already has 11 goals and eight assists for the team. Miami had not won 11 games in a row before Messi's debut on July 21.
Campana said that he had anticipated that Leo's absence would be felt, but stressed that Messi had instilled great confidence in the team. The Venezuelan commented that everyone in the team was satisfied with the result and the three points obtained.
Messi, meanwhile, scored the winning goal in Argentina's 1-0 win over Ecuador on Thursday and has another commitment with the national team against Bolivia on Tuesday.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is scheduled to return to Miami for the upcoming league match against Atlanta FC next Saturday.
Messi's absence was evident in the stands. Although the crowd at the DRV PNK Stadium sang throughout the match and applauded loudly after each goal, there were empty areas in the stands.
Let's go Facu! 🌟🌟😤👊 https://t.co/N9iPOfxbHT
- Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) September 12, 2023
Results That Marked the Recent MLS Fixtures
Portland Timbers take a 2-0 win over Los Angeles FC. The home side scored in each half with goals from defenders Larrys Mabiala and Claudio Bravo, while the visitors struggled to generate any attacking threat.
Some of LA's key players were out due to international commitments. The black and gold have now lost three straight games, while Portland won its third game in four at home, moving to within one point of playoff positions.
Minnesota United FC played to a one-goal draw with the New England Revolution. The New Englanders, who were shorthanded, were held to a draw in Minnesota, with goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair providing an unlikely assist in stoppage time.
The Canadian goalkeeper assisted Franco Frangapane in the second minute of overtime, allowing Minnesota to snatch a point against the visitors, who remain in second place in the Eastern Conference.
D.C. United also managed a scoreless draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. Both teams remain in position to play in the qualifying round with only six games left to play.
Finally, the LA Galaxy held St. Louis CITY SC to a two-goal draw. Riqui Puig kept up his good form with a goal, but the Galaxy could not find the win after coming back from a two-goal deficit against the Western Conference leaders.