HOUSTON – There are no words left to describe Lionel Messi.
They’ve all been used in some shape or form. New ones will have to be created to describe what La Pulga (“The Flea”) is doing on the pitch.
Messi’s game is so electric that it mesmerized the US national team on Tuesday. The problem was, the US were playing against him.
It’s hard to blame the US players. Messi is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of player and on Tuesday he underlined that fact, notching a goal and two assists as Argentina advanced to the Copa America Centenario Final with a 4-0 win over the USMNT.
Led by Messi, Argentina took care of business early and didn’t let up.
In just the third minute, Messi floated a perfectly weighted pass over the US defense and into the 18-yard box, where Ezequiel Lavezzi headed it over Brad Guzan, catching the goalkeeper off guard.
If that assist displayed his vision on the pitch, his next contribution cemented his place among the greatest to ever play the game.
In the 32nd minute, he was brought down about 30 yards from goal by Chris Wondolowski. On the ensuing free kick, Messi did what Messi does.
The FC Barcelona icon took a couple of steps before whipping the ball into the top right corner of the goal beyond the outstretched hands of Guzan. The goal, his 55th, makes him Argentina’s all-time goal scorer, passing Gabriel Batistuta.
Speaking to a throng of reporters after the game, Messi said that he saw the US wall was too high and difficult to pass through, so he looked at Guzan's positioning and spotted an opening above and to his left.
“The idea was to shoot it in that gap,” said Messi.
Now he could cross another accomplishment off his list: inning a trophy with his national team, something that has eluded the world’s best player.
“Hopefully it can be different,” said Messi of Argentina’s return to the Copa America final, where they fell to hosts Chile last year. “Hopefully we can lift this trophy that we desire and envision so much.”
Messi added that he would love his Argentinian team to duplicate tonight’s total team performance on Sunday, so they “can end up celebrating.”
Spectators would be well advised to sit back and enjoy the show.