The Houston Dynamo took full advantage of Lionel Messi’s absence on Wednesday night.
The Dynamo beat Inter Miami 2-1 at DRV PNK Stadium in South Florida on Wednesday night to officially win the US Open Cup. It was the second in club history following their win in 2018. Dynamo dominated the first half and Messi, who has been at his best since earlier this summer, missed another match due to fatigue.
Houston then held on in the second half, wiping a goal off the board after a replay, but held on late for a one-goal victory to take home the trophy.
Griffin Dorsey got Houston on the board first in the 24th minute when he broke free on the right side and fired the ball past Drake Callender into the top corner.
Amin Bassi converted a penalty kick less than 10 minutes after he was tackled in the box by DeAndre Yedlin. That gave Houston a 2-0 lead that it held the rest of the way until halftime.
Miami finally got on the board to avoid the shutout in the 91st minute when Joseph Martinez tucked the ball between the legs of Houston goalkeeper Steve Clark. But by then, even the game was delayed and extra time was called for.
Inter Miami coach Tata Martino said that if it was a regular season Major League Soccer match, Messi would not play in the match. The final of the US Open Cup carries a lot of weight, and Martino and Messi met before the match to determine his availability.
After stunning the world, Messi joined Inter Miami in June and his impact was immediately felt. Messi scored nine goals in his first six games with the team, leading them to a League Cup triumph.
Messi and Inter Miami survived a game against FC Cincinnati to reach the US Open Cup final with a 5-4 penalty shootout win last month. Messi enters Wednesday night having missed or been sidelined for six straight games between club and country. Sep. He first “felt something” in his leg during Argentina’s win over Ecuador on 7. He also came off late in the first half of last week’s game against Toronto FC.
A healthy Messi would have gone a long way for Inter Miami on Wednesday night, completely transforming one of the worst clubs in MLS when he first arrived. Without Messi, the club struggled against Houston – beating Real Salt Lake 3-1 in its semi-final – but lost 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City in MLS play last week.
Yahoo Sports provides the latest news, scores and injuries as Inter Miami takes on the Houston Dynamo in the US Open Cup final.