Inter Miami loses US Open Cup final, as helpless Messi watches from stands

Lionel Messi was unable to participate. Inter Miami played into the hands of the Houston Dynamo, who secured victory in the US Open Cup final on their home turf. Griffin Dorsey and Amine Bassi netted in the first half, and with NBA star James Harden, a part of the team’s ownership group, observing from the stands, Houston clinched a 2-1 win against Inter Miami, who were without Messi. Discover Inter Miami loses US Open Cup final, as helpless Messi watches from stands.

Inter Miami and US Open Cup Final Horror

Josef Martinez managed to score during second-half stoppage time for Inter Miami, but Messi could only watch from the team’s bench area. Messi was not in Inter Miami’s active roster for the match due to a leg issue, marking his fourth absence in five recent games, spanning both club and national team fixtures. It remains uncertain whether Messi will return when Inter Miami resumes its campaign to secure a spot in Major League Soccer’s playoffs this weekend.

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A leg problem forced the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner to exit a match against Toronto on September 20 during the first half, and as a result, he did not take part in the team’s 1-1 draw against Orlando last Sunday. This marked his third complete absence—two for his club and one for his national team—in the past two weeks. Missing a final on Wednesday suggests that Messi’s injury might be more severe than previously indicated.

Jordi Alba’s Injury Setback

Jordi Alba, another notable midseason addition to Inter Miami, was also unavailable on Wednesday due to a leg injury, with his status for upcoming matches uncertain. Messi missed Argentina’s World Cup qualifying victory against Bolivia on September 12 and Inter Miami’s 5-2 defeat to Atlanta United on September 16. While he returned for the September 20 match, he failed to complete the first half and subsequently sat out the match on Sunday.

Despite heavy rain in the Fort Lauderdale area in the late afternoon, thousands of fans, many donning Messi jerseys, turned up well before the gates opened for the Cup final, hoping to catch a glimpse of their idol. However, Messi’s absence from the field may have disappointed some fans who had paid significant amounts for tickets on the secondary market. Ticket prices ranged from $145 to nearly $4,000 an hour before the match.

Lionel Messi’s Availability Remains Uncertain

Inter Miami is still in contention for a playoff spot in MLS and faces three upcoming matches. They will host New York City FC on Saturday, play against Chicago on October 4, and return home to face Cincinnati on October 7. The team currently trails NYCFC by five points for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, with two games in hand. The outcome of Saturday’s match will carry significant weight in the standings.

Inter Miami coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino indicated earlier in the week that no decision had been made regarding Messi’s availability for these upcoming MLS matches, and discussions on this matter would follow Wednesday’s game.

Messi, who is set to earn between $125 million and $150 million during his 2.5-year contract with Inter Miami, has appeared in 12 matches for the team, primarily in Leagues Cup and U.S. Open Cup competitions. He has recorded 11 goals and eight assists, with one goal and two assists in four MLS matches.

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