Morgan scores hat-trick as Red Bulls gore Messi-less Miami

Lewis Morgan returned to haunt his former club with a hat-trick as the New York Red Bulls dished out a 4-0 thrashing to a Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami in Major League Soccer on Saturday.

Former Scotland international Morgan — who joined the Red Bulls in 2021 after two seasons in Miami — tormented a depleted Herons line-up to lead New York to an emphatic victory.

The game at the Red Bull Arena went ahead despite a request from New York, backed by Eastern Conference leaders Miami, to postpone the fixture due to slew of absences caused by injuries and international call-ups.

Miami star Messi was ruled out due to a hamstring injury sustained earlier this month, but his former Barcelona team-mates Sergio Busquets, Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba all started.

New York meanwhile were missing skipper and Sweden midfielder Emil Forsberg and four other players on international duty.

But there was little sign of the absentees disrupting the Red Bulls as the home side tore into a sluggish Miami from the outset.

Morgan, 27, who arrived in Major League Soccer four years ago after stints with Celtic, St. Mirren and Sunderland, fired New York into the lead after just three minutes.

After patient approach play, a deft flick from Belgian forward Dante Vanzeir sent Morgan into space and the striker coolly finished into the bottom corner.

A lacklustre Miami meanwhile barely created a chance in the opening 45 minutes, with Suarez curling a shot wide of the post after 27 minutes their most threatening opportunity.

Morgan then doubled New York’s lead six minutes into the second half, once again pouncing on a clever assist by Vanzeir to make it 2-0.

The Scottish forward was then instrumental in creating New York’s third on 66 minutes, showing tremendous hustle to keep the ball in play wide on the left before squaring into the area.

Vanzeir helped the cross along and Venezuelan forward Wikelman Carmona tucked away the finish for 3-0.

Morgan completed his hat-trick four minutes later to cap a sweeping New York counter-attack.

Vanzeir was involved once more, shrugging off a feeble challenge from Noah Allen down the right flank and then rolling an inviting low cross into he path of Morgan, who made no mistake.

The wins left New York level on 10 points with Columbus Crew and Miami at the top of the Eastern Conference. Columbus are in first place on goal difference, with Miami second.


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