The legendary Argentine forward entered for Leo Campana with Miami up 1-0 on New York, courtesy of a 37th-minute goal from Diego Gómez. Messi started on the bench, fresh off helping the Herons win their US Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday evening.
Before full-time, the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner and 2022 FIFA World Cup champion notched his first MLS regular-season goal to seal a 2-0 win over RBNY.
Messi, with next-level vision, picked out Benjamin Cremaschi with a back-post feed before easily finishing the give-and-go sequence. Following that tap-in shot, Messi now has 11 goals and six assists in nine matches across all competitions for the Herons.
Miami remain undefeated (6W-0L-3D) since Messi debuted in Leagues Cup shortly after his mid-July arrival. Ever since, they have won Leagues Cup, reached the US Open Cup final and booked a 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup spot.
Now, they're up to 14th place in the Eastern Conference standings after beating the Red Bulls. They'll need to be near flawless to make the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs, starting in last place (15th) from their pre-Messi days to make up a 14-point gap to climb above the line (ninth place).