Lionel Messi, Argentina top Canada in Copa América opener


Inter Miami CF superstar Lionel Messi and Argentina got their Copa América title defense off to a strong start, taking a 2-0 victory over Canada in Thursday's Group A opener at Atlanta United's Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Messi factored heavily into both goals, first setting up Argentina's 49th-minute opener with a pinpoint through-ball finished by Manchester City striker Julián Álvarez after taking a deflection.

The iconic No. 10 then assisted Lautaro Martínez's 88th-minute tally, putting the contest out of reach with another perfectly-weighted pass on the decisive strike.

Canada stayed in the match until the waning moments, aided by standout goalkeeping from Portland Timbers backstop Maxime Crépeau, but couldn't find an equalizer against Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez.


  • 49' - ARG - Julián Álvarez | WATCH
  • 88' - ARG - Lautaro Martínez | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Playing their first competitive match under new manager Jesse Marsch, the CanMNT gave themselves a chance at pulling a shock result against the reigning World Cup champions, but couldn't overcome Messi and Argentina's firepower. Argentina didn't have their sharpest finishing touch, and the tournament favorites were unlucky to not score a couple more goals.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It was still a one-goal game until Martínez's 88th-minute strike, set up by a vintage Messi assist.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: He missed a couple of opportunities he usually makes, but Messi still found a way to create the goals that sparked the three-point result.

Next Up

  • CAN: Tuesday, June 25 vs. Peru | 6 pm ET | Group A
  • ARG: Tuesday, June 25 vs. Chile | 9 pm ET | Group A