U.S. Open Cup 2023: 5 Players Lionel Messi Needs To Outscore To Become The Competition’s Leading Scorer

Inter Miami Are The Third Biggest Franchise In MLS
Inter Miami Are The Third Biggest Franchise In MLS

Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami will take on Cincinnati FC in the first semi-final of the 2023 U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night (August 23). If they manage to move past Cincinnati, they will either meet Real Salt Lake or Houston Dynamo in the final on September 27.

As always, all eyes will be on the 38-year-old, courtesy of his stellar displays since his switch to America in July. The Argentine genius is coming into Wednesday’s clash in sensational form, having scored a staggering 10 times in his last 7 appearances. After seeing the seven-time Ballon d’Or take the Herons to their first-ever Leagues Cup triumph, fans are hoping for more magic in the U.S. Open Cup.

Messi is currently on a seven-game scoring streak and will fancy himself to extend his run this week. However, he will still need to outscore quite a few soccer stars, three of whom will be competing in the semi-finals. Now, without further ado, let’s check out the five leading goalscorers in the U.S. Open Cup this season.

#5 Ibrahim Aliyu (Houston Dynamo) – 3 goals

Ibrahim Aliyu Is The Fifth-Highest Scorer In U.S. Open Cup
Ibrahim Aliyu Scored A Brace In The Quarter-Finals

Houston Dynamo center-forward Ibrahim Aliyu has been on the money in the U.S. Open Cup this season, scoring thrice in as many matches. Aliyu has also provided an assist in the competition this year.

Aliyu came into the limelight after impressing as a substitute in the round-of-16 victory over Minnesota, scoring once and claiming an assist in 28 minutes. He was named in the starting XI in the quarter-final clash against Chicago Fire and rewarded his coach’s trust by netting a brace in a 4-1 victory.

#4 Corey Baird (Houston Dynamo) – 3 goals

Corey Baird Is The Fourth Leading Scorer In U.S. Open Cup
Corey Baird Scored A Hat-Trick Against Minnesota In The Round Of 16

Ibrahim Aliyu’s teammate, Corey Baird has showcased both his finishing prowess and creativity in the 2023 U.S. Open Cup, scoring thrice and claiming two assists in three matches.

Traditionally a center-forward, Baird has been deployed in midfield and on the right wing in the U.S. Open Cup this season. His best performance came in the round-of-16 clash against Minnesota, with him bagging a hat-trick and claiming an assist to send his team through to the quarters.

#3 Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids) – 3 goals

Jonathan Lewis Is U.S. Opens Third Leading Scorer
Jonathan Lewis Has Only Scored Once For The Rapids In MLS

Colorado Rapids’ pacey winger Jonathan Lewis was in sensational form before his team’s elimination in the round of 16, scoring thrice and claiming an assist in three matches. After bagging consecutive wins over Hailstorm FC and Sacramento FC, the Rapids fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to semi-finalists Real Salt Lake in the pre-quarters.

Surprisingly, Lewis’ U.S. Open Cup form has not yet carried over to the MLS. Playing 19 games so far, Lewis has only scored once in the American top flight.

#2 Josh Dolling (Las Vegas Lights FC) – 4 goals

Josh Dolling Scored 4 Goals In The U.S. Open Cup
Josh Dolling Scored A Hat-Trick In The Second Round

Las Vegas Lights FC center-forward Josh Dolling bagged a sensational hat-trick in his side’s 6-0 win over UDA SA in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. Dolling extended his scoring run to two games with another strike against Phoenix Rising in the third round but fired a blank in the 2-0 defeat to Austin in the fourth round.

Although Dolling proved his mettle in the national cup competition, he is still searching for his first goal in the second division of American soccer (USL Championship) this season. He has played 20 league games thus far, claiming three assists.

#1 Damir Kreilach (Real Salt Lake) – 4 goals

Damir Kreilach Is The Leading Scorer In U.S. Open Cup
Damir Kreilach Is The Leading Scorer In U.S. Open Cup

Former Union Berlin star Damir Kreilach has been Real Salt Lake’s leading light this season, both in the league and in the national cup competition.

The versatile midfielder has proven himself to be quite lethal in the MLS, scoring four times in 21 matches. Meanwhile, in the U.S. Open Cup, he has been in a league of his own, netting four times in as many fixtures. Originally a central midfielder, Kreilach is also capable of delivering as a second striker and a center-forward, which allows Real Salt Lake boss Pablo Mastroeni to experiment to his heart’s content.

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