Fans hailed the performance of striker Robert Taylor, who came on to replace Inter Miami captain Lionel Messi in the MLS game against Toronto FC on Wednesday (September 20).
In his first game in club football after returning from international duty with Argentina, Messi started against Toronto, only to trudge off after 37 minutes due to injury.
The 36-year-old was apparently struggling due to muscular injury and was asked to be taken off just before half-time. Moments later, his former Barcelona teammate, Jordi Alba, also came off.
Fortunately, for the Herons, the loss of their captain didn't affect the result, as they ran out 4-0 victors in a potentially must-win game as they chase a playoff spot.
After Facundo Parlas put the hosts into the lead in first-half stoppage time. Taylor doubled their lead in the 54th minute before Benjamin Cremaschi's 73rd-minute strike put the result beyond doubt.
Taylor added gloss to the scoreline with his second of the night three minutes from time, earning praise from fans.
"Robert Taylor only scores bangers."
Another chimed in:
"He took Messi's powers."
Here're some of the top reactions on X, formerly called Twitter:
With the win, the Herons (31) moved up a place to 13th in the MLS Eastern Conference, with six more games to go.
What did Toronto interim coach say after loss to Lionel Messi's Inter Miami?
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored 11 goals and provided five assists in 12 games across competitions - including a 4-0 win over Toronto - with Miami not losing any of these outings.
Following the chastening defeat, Toronto interim head coach Terry Dunfield said in his post-match press conference that he knew his team were in for a tough outing (as per wakingthered):
“We knew it would be tough tonight. Inter Miami (have) six wins and a draw at home, they’re undefeated, and there was two ways we could have approached the game; sit back and look to really hit them on the counter or try to play some football and we were very good in the first half. We created two very good scoring opportunities.”
Tata Martino's side next take on Orlando City away on Sunday (September 24) in the MLS before hosting Houston Dynamo in the US Open Cup final three days later.