Lewis Morgan became the top goalscorer in MLS this season after his hat-trick inspired New York Red Bulls to a 4-0 thrashing of Inter Miami.

With Lionel Messi out injured, Miami could do little to prevent their former player Morgan turning on the style at the Red Bull Arena.

Not only did Morgan help himself to three goals, but he also teed up another with a mazy run from the touchline before helping it back to Wikelman Carmona.

Saturday's heavy defeat saw Miami, temporarily at least, fall from top spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Red Bulls moved up to third with 10 points from their four games.

The Red Bulls enjoyed a sensational start, with Morgan firing them in front after just three minutes to bring up his third goal of the season. The Scottish striker latched on to a clever flick from Dante Vanzeir before dispatching into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Sandro Schwarz's side could have doubled their lead in the 29th minute after Morgan returned the favour to Vanzeir with a superb throughball, but he dragged his effort wide.

Miami's best chance of the first half came through Jordi Alba, who found himself in space inside the penalty area after Lawson Sunderland poked the ball into his path, but his effort whistled over the bar.

The visitors' frustration was compounded just six minutes into the second half – Vanzeir and Morgan linking up once again as the latter got on the end of a defence-splitting pass before tucking home.

It was 3-0 in the 66th minute, Carmona firing in from close range after tireless work from Morgan.

The 27-year-old chased down a loose ball before taking on his marker and picking out Vanzeir, whose touch fell Carmona.

Morgan secured his hat-trick just four minutes later with the Red Bulls hitting Miami on the counter-attack, finishing coolly from yet another excellent Vanzeir pass.

Morgan haunts the Herons

With the home side unbeaten in four straight matches at the Red Bull Arena in all competitions before kick-off, Schawrz's men played with plenty of confidence in front of their own supporters, and made that five wins on the bounce in emphatic fashion.

Morgan, who spent two seasons with Miami in 2020 and 2021, was crucial, and went off to a standing ovation.

His opener brought up the Red Bulls' quickest strike of the season, and he now tops the MLS scoring charts with five goals this season. Vanzeir, meanwhile, has risen to the top of the assists list (five).

Suarez fails to step up in Messi’s absence

It has been an impressive start to the season for Miami, who went into this clash at the top of the East, but they Gerardo Martino's side were taught a harsh lesson, and they did not have Messi to bail them out.

Suarez was tasked with taking on the responsibility in attack, but the Uruguayan was not at his best and struggled to get involved in the action in the final third.

Indeed, after picking up a booking for dissent in the first half, he did not really provide a spark at all until late on, when his cross diverted off a defender and onto the crossbar.

It was a day to forget for Miami, who did have a consolation goal ruled out by VAR, and the Herons will now have to lick their wounds and hope Messi, who has skipped international duty, is back sooner rather than later.