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Inter Miami player ratings vs Sporting Kansas City: Lionel Messi puts on an attacking clinic in front of over 70,000 fans at Arrowhead Stadium in brilliant Herons victory

It was a night where Inter Miami needed three points desperately. Heading into the match, the morale was low after their embarrassing exit from the CONCACAF Champions Cup midweek, where Brandon Vazquez's CF Monterrey sent the Herons home from Mexico with their head down. They were winless in five-straight matches, and frankly, were looking a bit lost in direction.

On the road, in front of 70,000+ people at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, they did it - someway, somehow, though.

Lionel Messi's first start in MLS since March 2, he came out with fire in his eyes. A goal and an assist, he led the Herons to their first league victory in nearly a month. It wasn't a smooth ride by any means, but the job got done, with a few standout players leading the way.

In all-too-familiar fashion, though, the match started with a defensive blunder from Miami. A poor giveaway and an attempt to draw a foul failed the Herons just six minutes in, as Sporting KC's Erik Thommy capitalized on the moment, firing his team ahead early. Miami responded well though, and of course, it came through Messi. The Argentine delivered a sensational assist to David Ruiz in the 18th minute to bring them level, with the two teams then going into the break at a stalemate.

Messi then did it all on his own six minutes into the second half, firing a truly incredible effort into the back of the net from 23 yards out. What the Argentine did, though, Thommy replicated it Saturday. Sporting's German winger responded in the 58th minute with a splendid goal, firing a wicked volley into the back of the net off the post to bring SKC level.

The winner for the Herons arrived via Luis Suarez, who scored his sixth goal of the MLS season, with the Uruguayan poking home at the back-post after Diego Gomez won a contentious ball near the corner flag. The Paraguayan's low-driven cross found Miami's leading scorer, and he couldn't miss from that range.

On a night where the Herons defense was exploited not once, but twice, their superstars got them over the line. Messi, Suarez and Gomez singlehandedly earned Miami three points, in arguably their most important win this season to date.

It was a brilliant performance, but their defensive woes still haunt them. A late Jordi Alba injury will only make that matter worse, too, but... tonight? Tata Martino's squad can celebrate a hard-fought victory.

GOAL rates Inter Miami's players from Arrowhead Stadium...

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