Lionel Messi continued his strong start for Inter Miami, scoring twice in a 3-1 League Cup victory over Orlando City on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old’s two close-range goals helped his team advance to the tournament’s last 16.
Miami had gone winless in 11 games prior to Messi’s arrival, but have recently won three in a row.
Jordi Alba, Messi’s former Barcelona teammate, made his Miami debut as a 64th-minute substitute.
Sergio Busquets, the pair’s former Camp Nou colleague, has also relocated to Florida, and ex-Barca and Argentina manager Tata Martino has taken over in the dugout after replacing Phil Neville.
Messi’s team-mate and former Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin believes the Argentine strikes “fear” into rivals.
“He just gives everyone around him confidence. You can give him balls in difficult situations and know he’s going to make something out of it,” Yedlin said post-match.
“The flipside is that for the teams we’re playing against, it puts a bit of fear in their eyes. They’re dropping back on their heels a bit and that gives us more space to play.”
David Beckham-owned Miami will next take on FC Dallas in Texas on Sunday for a spot in the quarter-finals of the Leagues Cup, which debuted in 2019 and sees sides from the United States and Mexico compete in a knockout format.