Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Houston Dynamo in the 2023 US Open Cup final on Wednesday night.
Inter Miami’s dreams of winning the US Open Cup for the first time were dashed, as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to Houston Dynamo in the final at DRV PNK Stadium.
Lionel Messi was a notable absentee from the Inter Miami squad, due to a leg injury.
However, it was Houston Dynamo who started the match brighter, and they took the lead in the 24th minute through Griffin Dorsey. Dorsey capitalized on a mistake in the Inter Miami defense to slot home from close range.
However, Houston Dynamo added their second in the 33rd minute through Amine Bassi. Bassi converted from the spot after Inter Miami defender Kieran Gibbs was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty area.
Martinez scored in the dying moments of the match to give Inter Miami a glimmer of hope, but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat.
In the end, it was Houston Dynamo who lifted the US Open Cup trophy for the first time in their history. It was a deserved win for the Dynamo, who were well-organized and disciplined throughout the match.
Inter Miami will be disappointed to have missed out on the trophy, but they can take heart from the fact that they are still a relatively young club. They have a bright future ahead of them, especially with Lionel Messi leading the line.
No clear explanation has been given for Messi’s injury with references to “muscle fatigue” followed by talk from coach Gerardo Martino of “scars” from an old injury.
“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,” said Martino after the match.
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The former Barcelona and Argentina coach said he expected Messi to feature at some stage in the upcoming five games that remain for Miami in the MLS regular season.
“He will certainly play before the league is over. We will go match by match and see how things are coming along and if the medical department can give him the OK to play without any risks,” he added.
Martino meanwhile said Miami’s season was finally starting to catch up with them.
“I thought it was a very exhausted team, that’s the reality,” he said. “The reality is that we were going to feel the consequences of so many games.”