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▶ You can’t stop Lionel Messi, you can only hope to contain him [2024/03/01   ]

The Los Angeles Galaxy had two full months to prepare and two decades of film to study. They had a high-profile date with Lionel Messi and, by Sunday night, a masterplan to halt him. They’d try to “condense the field,” as Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. They’d try to “isolate” Messi and Luis Suarez “as much as possible,” defender Maya Yoshida added. And for 91 minutes on Major League Soccer’s opening weekend, they succeeded.

But in Minute 92, their goalkeeper’s scouting report proved prophetic.

“It’s Messi. He’s good, man,” John McCarthy said with an incredulous chuckle.

McCarthy had faced Messi last year with LAFC, so a reporter wondered whether he’d relayed any tips to teammates. McCarthy shook his head, and added: “There’s not much you can say.”

And there wasn’t much he could do when Messi pounced on a minor mistake and drove at Galaxy defenders in stoppage time. There wasn’t much any of them could do to protect a 1-0 lead. Their tired legs scrambled and weary brains spun as Messi and Jordi Alba passed and moved into the penalty area.

“When he and Alba connect like that, it’s ridiculous,” Vanney said. “It’s really, really difficult to defend.” It erased an otherwise excellent Galaxy performance; Messi’s goal earned Miami a 1-1 draw. And it highlighted the Herculean challenge vexing every Messi opponent.

“Unfortunately,” Vanney said, “he just slipped away from us for a split second. And that became the difference.”

The Los Angeles Galaxy had two full months to prepare and two decades of film to study. They had a high-profile date with Lionel Messi and, by Sunday night, a masterplan to halt him. They’d try to “condense the field,” as Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. They’d try to “isolate” Messi and Luis Suarez “as much as possible,” defender Maya Yoshida added. And for 91 minutes on Major League Soccer’s opening weekend, they succeeded.

But in Minute 92, their goalkeeper’s scouting report proved prophetic.

“It’s Messi. He’s good, man,” John McCarthy said with an incredulous chuckle.

McCarthy had faced Messi last year with LAFC, so a reporter wondered whether he’d relayed any tips to teammates. McCarthy shook his head, and added: “There’s not much you can say.”

And there wasn’t much he could do when Messi pounced on a minor mistake and drove at Galaxy defenders in stoppage time. There wasn’t much any of them could do to protect a 1-0 lead. Their tired legs scrambled and weary brains spun as Messi and Jordi Alba passed and moved into the penalty area.

“When he and Alba connect like that, it’s ridiculous,” Vanney said. “It’s really, really difficult to defend.” It erased an otherwise excellent Galaxy performance; Messi’s goal earned Miami a 1-1 draw. And it highlighted the Herculean challenge vexing every Messi opponent.

“Unfortunately,” Vanney said, “he just slipped away from us for a split second. And that became the difference.”

The Los Angeles Galaxy had two full months to prepare and two decades of film to study. They had a high-profile date with Lionel Messi and, by Sunday night, a masterplan to halt him. They’d try to “condense the field,” as Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. They’d try to “isolate” Messi and Luis Suarez “as much as possible,” defender Maya Yoshida added. And for 91 minutes on Major League Soccer’s opening weekend, they succeeded.

But in Minute 92, their goalkeeper’s scouting report proved prophetic.

“It’s Messi. He’s good, man,” John McCarthy said with an incredulous chuckle.

McCarthy had faced Messi last year with LAFC, so a reporter wondered whether he’d relayed any tips to teammates. McCarthy shook his head, and added: “There’s not much you can say.”

And there wasn’t much he could do when Messi pounced on a minor mistake and drove at Galaxy defenders in stoppage time. There wasn’t much any of them could do to protect a 1-0 lead. Their tired legs scrambled and weary brains spun as Messi and Jordi Alba passed and moved into the penalty area.

“When he and Alba connect like that, it’s ridiculous,” Vanney said. “It’s really, really difficult to defend.” It erased an otherwise excellent Galaxy performance; Messi’s goal earned Miami a 1-1 draw. And it highlighted the Herculean challenge vexing every Messi opponent.

“Unfortunately,” Vanney said, “he just slipped away from us for a split second. And that became the difference.”

- The origianl text resource is from Yahoo Sports
 
   


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