Houston Dynamo defeat Messi’s Inter Miami To Win US Open Cup


Houston Dynamo FC claimed their second U.S. Soccer National Championship with a 2-1 win over Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami CF on Wednesday night.

Griffin Dorsey and Amine Bassi scored first half goals for the visitors whose veteran midfield pair of captain Héctor Herrera and Artur stymied a Miami side that was short of Jordi Alba and the reigning world best player, Lionel Messi.

Messi watched from the sidelines as his team lost the U.S. Open Cup title to Houston Dynamo due to an injury he picked up while on Argentina duty.

Manager Gerardo Martino said Tuesday that whether his star player was available or not would come down to a game-time decision. When the lineup was revealed ahead of the final at DRV PNK Stadium, Messi was not listed on the team sheet.

“It was clearly not prudent for him to play, not even for a few minutes,” Martino said after the match.

“We couldn’t take the risk. But he will surely play again before the end of the season. His participation will be determined game by game based on the medical team’s feedback,” he added.

ESPN reports that Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba also sat out the loss as he dealt with an injury of his own, with both players spotted in the stands in street clothes shortly after kickoff.
With two of their stars missing, Miami were overmatched and Houston took full advantage, scoring twice in the first half from Griffin Dorsey’s close-range thunderbolt and a penalty by Amine Bassi as the visitors controlled the game.
Miami, who were making a second bid for a trophy this season after winning the inaugural Leagues Cup tournament between MLS and Liga MX, tried to force their way back into the game but lacked the finishing touch and could only muster a late consolation goal from Josef Martinez.
When the final whistle blew, it was Houston that added a second U.S. Open Cup to their trophy case after winning it in 2018.
“Today, I saw a worn-out and tired team,” Martino said. “We were also limited by the injuries, so our performance was affected by those circumstances.”
Thousands of fans turned up in the Fort Lauderdale area late Wednesday afternoon — many of them wearing Messi jerseys either in the blue and white of Argentina or the pink of Inter Miami — long before the gates opened for the Cup final, if for no other reason than to watch the team buses arrive.
However, when the buses arrived, there was no Messi, a reality that might have led to an expensive disappointment for some fans. Ticket prices on secondary markets, with links to sales posted on the team’s social media channels as recently as Tuesday, ranged from $145 to nearly $4,000 about an hour before the match.
Messi had been in and out of Miami’s lineup since returning from international duty for Argentina with a leg injury related to an old scar tissue problem. He did not play in a loss to Atlanta United on Sept. 16 and tried to play Sept. 20 against Toronto FC but was withdrawn after about 30 minutes in a game Miami went on to win 4-0.