Lionel Messi scores goal and adds five assists in win over Red Bulls

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Lionel Messi had a record-setting night for Inter Miami.

He scored a goal and had five assists as Inter Miami trounced the New York Red Bulls 6-2 on Saturday night — with the Argentine great and eight-time Ballon d’Or winner as the game’s best player setting no fewer than three Major League Soccer records.

The six goal contributions, five assists and five assists in a half were all MLS records.

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal during the Red Bulls’ 6-2 loss to Inter Miami. Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Messi, who earned the MLS Player of the Month Award for April, has now scored and assisted in six consecutive league matches.

“It has become redundant but it appears that he is always making history,” Inter Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said. “If something was missing, it was this — to contribute in six goals.”

Luis Suárez had three goals and Matias Rojas scored twice as Inter Miami got six unanswered goals to come back from a 1-0 halftime deficit. Messi and Suárez now have a league-leading 10 goals each, helping keep Inter Miami (7-2-3, 24 points) atop the Eastern Conference.

The win extended Miami’s unbeaten string to six. The streak began after a 4-0 loss at New York on April 20, in which Messi did not play because of an injury.

“When he is not available, obviously, the team feels it,” Martino said.

Miami began the rout with Rojas’ equalizer in the 48th minute. Messi centered a pass to Rojas whose left-footed shot landed under the crossbar.

Lionel Messi fights for the ball as Sean Nealis defends during the Red Bulls’ 6-2 loss. AFP via Getty Images

Suárez then fed a charging Messi with a touch pass and he beat New York goalkeeper Carlos Coronel with a shot from 15 yards.

Rojas made it 3-1 with his second goal in the 62nd minute on an assist from Messi. The 28-year-old Rojas joined Inter Miami on April 23 and entered the match to start the second half.

“This is the ultimate satisfaction for a goal scorer,” Rojas said. “It makes it even more special because we accomplished it at home.”

Lionel Messi controls the ball during Inter Miami’s victory over the Red Bulls. Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Messi then contributed on former Barcelona teammate Suárez’s first goal in the 69th minute.

“Leo makes it easier for all of us,” Suárez said. “We know each other long enough. When we are on the pitch, we know how to spot each other without looking.”

Suárez also struck in the 75th and 81st minutes before the Red Bulls (4-2-5, 17 points) closed the scoring on Emil Forsberg’s penalty kick in stoppage time.

“We have many players that are capable of scoring,” Martino said. “At some points in the match we are going to find favorable moments. The issue is how we limit the unfavorable moments.”

The Red Bulls controlled possession early and eventually capitalized on a Miami defensive breakdown that resulted in Dante Vanzeir’s goal in the 30th minute.

José Carmona ran deep into the right wing of the large area and blasted a shot that bounced off the far post. An unmarked Vanzeir retrieved the deflection and converted from 15 yards.

Messi had his only scoring opportunity of the first half in the 24th minute, when Coronel stopped his shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba missed his third straight game because of a hamstring injury.

Both clubs will continue MLS play next Saturday. Inter Miami visits CF Montreal while the Red Bulls play host to New England.