Inter Miami 2-2 Colorado Rapids: Player ratings as Cole Bassett spoils Messi's return with late equalizer

  • The Herons trailed at the break after Rafael Navarro converted his penalty attempt
  • Lionel Messi came off the bench to propel Miami into the lead in the second half
  • Cole Basset found the back of the net in the 88th minute to steal a point at the death
The Herons were held to a draw in Messi's return
The Herons were held to a draw in Messi's return / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Bassett's late strike spoiled Lionel Messi's return as Inter Miami were held to a 2-2 draw against Colorado Rapids Saturday night at Chase Stadium.

The Rapids rocked up to south Florida expecting to see Miami's big four -- Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez -- all in the starting lineup for the Herons. But Gerardo 'Tata' Martino clearly had Wednesday night's Concacaf Champions Cup clash with Monterrey in mind as he included all four players in his squad but they were on the bench to begin the match.

It was the visiting Rapids who opened the scoring on the brink of halftime, as Kevin Cabral was impeded in Miami's penalty area by Ryan Sailor after an brilliant piece of individual skill. Colorado's talisman Rafael Navarro stepped up to slot home the penalty kick to give the Western Conference club a 1-0 lead at the break.

However, the Herons managed to turn things around in the second half after Messi came off the bench to grab the tying goal. Franco Negri, who was making his first appearance since last June after recovering from an ACL injury, put in a teasing cross for Messi to latch onto with his wand of a left foot to bring the game to level terms.

Miami struck twice again within two minutes to turn the game around and take the lead as Messi grabbed the pre-assist in the build-up. The 36-year-old played David Ruiz through on goal, and the versatile youngster squared the ball across the face of goal for Leo Afonso to rifle home for his first goal as an Inter Miami player.

Just when it seemed like Miami were going to claim all three points, the Rapids remembered they were only one goal behind the Herons. Substitute Calvin Harris came off the bench to provide an exquisite assist for Cole Bassett, who made no mistake in front of goal with a well-placed finish that Drake Callender couldn't keep out.

The points were shared between the two clubs at full-time as Colorado picked up an important point on the road, while Miami's winless run was extended to four games with Bassett's late equalizer.

Inter Miami player ratings ( 4-3-3 )

Inter Miami were unable to hold on for the three points
Inter Miami were unable to hold on for the three points / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

GK: Drake Callender - 5.5/10 - Not much he could've done on the penalty attempt and kept out a few stray efforts in the second half. Possibly could've done better on Bassett's attempt but his defense let him down.

RB: David Ruiz - 7/10 - The midfielder playing as a full-back started off shaky but rebounded with several key challenges to keep the Herons in the contest.

CB: Ryan Sailor - 5/10 - Put his team in a hole in the first half after taking down Cabral in his own penalty area. However, he managed to improve and settle in alongside Allen.

CB: Noah Allen - 6.5/10 - A quiet yet effective night in defense for the 19-year-old.

LB: Franco Negri - 7.5/10 - The veteran defender was exceptional when he joined in on the attack in his first appearance for the Herons since last June after recovering from an ACL injury.

CM: Julian Gressel - 7/10 - Miami's most effective player going forward in the first half, yet Martino chose to preserve him for the clash with Monterrey with an early second-half substitution.

CM: Tomas Aviles - 6.5/10 - It was strange seeing the young center-back so far up the pitch in the Busquets role but he was solid for the most part.

CM: Lawson Sunderland - 6/10 - He was hooked after just 45 minutes for the one and only Messi. Not much you can really do about that, I guess.

RW: Shanyder Borgelin - 6.5/10 - Struggled keeping hold of the in the early stages but improved as the game wore on.

ST: Leo Campana - 6/10 - Held the ball up well for his teammates and was unfortunate to pick up a knock that saw his night end early.

LW: Leo Afonso - 8/10 - Started strong to create several half-chances for the hosts and capped his night off with a first-career goal at the first-team level.


SUB: Diego Gomez (41' for Campana) - 6/10 - The Paraguay international wasn't as involved in the attack as we've seen in recent games.

SUB: Lionel Messi (56' for Sunderland) - 9/10 - It's no coincidence that Miami look so, so much better with their No. 10 in the side. Messi looked sharp and hungry in his return with a trademark goal while also setting up the second goal.

SUB: Sergio Busquets (56' for Aviles) - 6.5/10 - Played his part in turning the game around but it wasn't enough for the victory.

SUB: Marcelo Weigandt (56' for Gressel) - 6/10 - The player neither helped nor hindered his side.

SUB: Jordi Alba (69' for Alfonso) - 6.5/10 - Looked threatening as ever after coming on, playing several inviting crosses and cut-back passes into the Colorado penalty area.


Gerardo 'Tata' Martino - 7/10 - Managed the game well with the situation at hand and helped preserve some legs for Miami's upcoming midweek clash with Monterrey. He gambled on Miami staying in the game in the first half with a makeshift side, but it didn't pay off with Bassett's late equalizer.

Player of the match - Lionel Messi (Inter Miami)