U.S. Open Cup Final: Lionel Messi Misses Clash As Inter Miami Suffer 2-1 Defeat To Houston Dynamo

Lionel Messi Looking Pensive For Inter Miami
Lionel Messi Looking Pensive For Inter Miami

Inter Miami welcomed Houston Dynamo to the DRV PNK Stadium for the U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday night (September 27). Gerardo Martino’s side tried their best to match Dynamo’s vigor, but the visitors just had an extra gear at their disposal.

At the end of the game, the orange brigade emerged victorious, picking up a 2-1 win over Lionel Messi-less Miami. Griffin Dorsey and Amine Bassi (penalty) scored for Dynamo, while Josef Martinez scored Inter Miami’s consolation goal in stoppage time.

Lionel Messi Sorely Missed In U.S. Open Cup Clash

Since joining the club as a free agent in July, Lionel Messi has been in a league of his own. The 36-year-old first guided Inter Miami to their first-ever silverware in August, helping them to the Leagues Cup trophy. He then played a crucial part as the Herons beat Cincinnati in the U.S. Open Cup to book a place in the final.

Unfortunately, he failed to feature in the grand showdown on Wednesday, missing the game due to an injury. The seven-time Ballon d’Or had to be taken off in the first half of Inter Miami’s 4-0 win over Toronto FC last week. In a press conference, coach Gerardo Martino revealed that Messi was not comfortable to continue, adding that an “old injury” was behind his recent struggles.

The Argentina icon missed the last training session ahead of Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup final, but the coach refused to rule him out completely. Ultimately, Messi failed to even make the bench and spent the night watching on helplessly from the stands. Without their talisman, Inter Miami appeared clueless in the final third. They created three big chances but failed to capitalize, which goes on to show their dependency on Messi.

Will Messi Play Again This Season?

Messi, who has scored 11 times and provided five assists in 12 matches this season, must return to fitness as soon as possible to help Miami book their place in the MLS Cup play-off. As things stand, Vice City have no idea when that will be.

When asked about Messi following the defeat to Dynamo, coach Martino said that the club were prioritizing Messi’s health. He said (via BBC):

It was not prudent for him to play. We couldn’t even consider playing him for a few minutes because we would be taking risks.”

Martino assured that Messi would play before the end of the regular MLS season, which ends on October 21 but could not confirm a return date.

Miami, meanwhile, will return to action with a clash against Eastern Conference rivals New York City FC on Saturday (September 30).

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