LOS ANGELES – Lionel Messi had two assists in front of a star-studded crowd as Inter Miami defeated Los Angeles Football Club 3-1 Sunday night.
Facundo Farías, Jordi Alba and Leonardo Campana scored for Miami, which is unbeaten in 11 matches across all competitions since Messi joined the club in mid-July.
Ryan Hollingshead scored for LAFC, which has dropped its last two.
Sunday’s match though will be Messi’s last with Miami for at least the next two weeks. The 36-year-old will be part of Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador on Thursday and Bolivia five days later
Messi has 11 goals and eight assists for Miami, which is eight points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with eight regular-season matches remaining.
Miami’s visit to the defending MLS Cup champions was marked as one of the highlight games since Messi signed. It was viewed by 22,921 fans, a record for LAFC’s BMO Stadium.
It also vaulted into one of the most-demanded tickets in MLS’ 27-year history.
According to TickPick, the average purchase price for the match was $717, which was 515% more than the $110 before he signed.
By comparison, Beyonce’s concert at SoFi Stadium had an average purchase price of $493.
Among the celebrities in attendance were Prince Harry, LAFC co-owner Will Farrell, Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez, Owen Wilson, Mario Lopez and Edward Norton.
“Ted Lasso” stars Jason Sudeikis and Brendan Hunting also were at the game.
Messi had a wide-open shot in front of the net in the 38th minute, but McCarthy used his left foot to make the save.
Farías, who turned 21 on Aug. 28, made his second start since joining the club in late July and scored his first goal in the 14th minute.
Tomas Avilés made a great pass at midfield to as Farías was running up the right side of the field. Farías had an opening between two LAFC defenders and made a sliding shot with his outstretched right foot that beat LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy hit the far post and bounced in.
Alba doubled LAFC’s advantage in the 51st minute with a left-footer. Messi had a 2-on-1 breakaway in the 83rd minute before passing to Campana, who had a wide-open shot at the net.
Hollingshead averted the shutout with a header off a corner kick.