MLS Golden Boot Race: Messi on the Board With Late Goal vs LA Galaxy, Benteke Leads After Hat Trick

MLS Golden Boot Race: Messi on the Board With Late Goal vs LA Galaxy, Benteke Leads After Hat Trick

Joel Reyes
updated at February 27, 2024 at 6:05 AM
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Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
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Club Internacional de Futbol Miami
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  • Christian Benteke took the early lead in the league's Golden Boot race
  • Antony is in second place after scoring a brace in Portland's season opener
  • Lionel Messi opened his goal-scoring account with a late strike vs. LA Galaxy

The 2024 MLS season is off and running.

28 players have already scored goals this season, including Inter Miami star Lionel Messi.

Sports Brief looks at the league's top scorers as we head into Matchday 2.

Christian Benteke, Lionel Messi, MLS, Inter Miami, DC United
Christian Benteke and Lionel Messi. Images: Daniel Kucin Jr./Keith Birmingham.
Source: Getty Images

MLS 2024 Top Scorers

1. Christian Benteke (DC United, 3 goals)

Benteke kicked off DC United's season in style, scoring a hat-trick in their 3-1 win over the New England Revolution on Saturday.

He opened his account in the 36th minute, heading in Pedro Santos' fantastic cross into the back of the net, per

There was some confusion, though, after the goal as New England goalkeeper Henrich Ravas had initially saved Benteke's shot from going in.

A VAR review confirmed that the ball went past the line, giving Benteke his first goal of the season.

He didn't waste time adding to that tally, scoring two more goals in the second half. He scored a tap-in and a header in stoppage time to complete the first hat-trick in MLS this season.

2. Antony (Portland Timbers, 2 goals)

Antony helped the Portland Timbers get off to a winning start in the 2023-24 season, nabbing a brace in their 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids.

He doubled Portland's lead in the 14th minute with a diving header as he connected brilliantly with Cristhian Paredes' cross.

Antony made it 3-0 for the Timbers in the 29th minute, curling a right-footed shot into the back of the net after a wonderful through ball from Eryk Williamson.

3. Lionel Messi (Inter Miami, 1 goal)

Messi helped Inter Miami salvage a point in their road game against the LA Galaxy, scoring a late equalizer in their 1-1 draw on Sunday.

The Argentine star combined with Jordi Alba to dissect LA's defense, exchanging passes twice before scoring the much-needed goal in second-half stoppage time.

It was Messi's first goal for Inter Miami this 2023-24 season. He failed to find the back of the net in their season opener against Real Salt Lake. He is tied for third in the MLS Golden Boot race.

Other players with 1 goal this season

25 other players have scored one goal this season, like Messi.

They are Real Salt Lake's Cristian Arango, Inter Miami's Diego Gómez and Robert Taylor, Columbus Crew's Cucho Hernández, Charlotte FC's Adilson Malanda, FC Dallas' Dante Sealy, LAFC's Mateusz Bogusz, Philadelphia Union's Dániel Gazdag, Chicago Fire FC's Fabian Herbers, LAFC's Timothy Tillman, Philadelphia Union's Mikkel Uhre, New England Revolution's Carles Gil, FC Dallas' Asier Illarramendi, Chicago Fire FC's Brian Gutierrez, LA Galaxy's Dejan Joveljic, Portland Timbers' Eryk Williamson, San Jose Earthquakes' Benjamin Kikanovic, Sporting Kansas City's Erik Thommy, Minnesota United FC's Robin Lod, Colorado Rapids' Calvin Harris, Seattle Sounders FC's Pedro de la Vega, St. Louis CITY SC's Samuel Adeniran, Houston Dynamo FC's Gabriel Segal, Minnesota United FC's Alejandro Bran, and Austin FC's Guilherme Biro.

Messi helps Callender with penalty save

Sports Brief recently reported on Messi's intuition helping Inter Miami in the game against the Galaxy.

He told goalkeeper Drake Callender where to dive to save Riqui Puig's penalty.

Callender dove to his left to save Puig's spot kick, keeping the match level in the first half.

Joel Reyes photo
Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.