Inter Miami: Lionel Messi sits out as Dynamo beat Miami in Open Cup

Houston Dynamo defeated Inter Miami as Lionel Messi sits out in the U.S. Open Cup final for an injury he picked up while on Argentina duty.

The 2-1 loss at DRV PNK Stadium prevented David Beckham’s side from tasting another title since Messi’s arrival. Meanwhile, Houston added a second U.S. Open Cup to their trophy case after winning it in 2018.

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Messi in the stand
Messi in the stand

Dynamo Houston 2-1 Inter Miami

Messi was not listed on the team sheet, nor was his former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba, who also sat out the loss due to injury.

Both players were spotted in the stands in street clothes shortly after kickoff.

No Mess, no party. Miami were overmatched without their top stars in the XI, and Houston took full advantage, scoring twice in the first half from Griffin Dorsey’s close-range thunderbolt and a penalty by Amine Bassi as the visitors controlled the game.

Miami, who were making a second bid for a trophy this season after winning the inaugural Leagues Cup tournament between MLS and Liga MX, tried to force their way back into the game but lacked the finishing touch and could only muster a late consolation goal from Josef Martinez.

The fans were also disappointed as many wore Messi jerseys but eventually could only find the 2022 World Cup champion in the stand as an audience.

Ticket prices on secondary markets, with links to sales posted on the team’s social media channels as recently as Tuesday, ranged from $145 to nearly $4,000 about an hour before the match.

Messi had been in and out of Miami’s lineup since returning from international duty for Argentina with a leg injury related to an old scar tissue problem. He did not play in a loss to Atlanta United on Sept. 16 and tried to play on Sept. 20 against Toronto F.C. but was withdrawn after about 30 minutes in a game Miami went on to win 4-0.

Alba was substituted with muscle fatigue in the Toronto game shortly before Messi, and after the match, Martino said neither would play in Saturday’s game away to Orlando City. Miami managed a draw in that match to keep their MLS Cup playoff hopes alive.

Messi’s impact on Miami since arriving in July in a blockbuster deal has been remarkable. He’s scored 11 goals and contributed to a total of 16, with the team having never lost a game in which he played.

Miami are five points behind New York City F.C., which they face Saturday in MLS, in the standings for the final playoff spot with five games to play and two games in hand.

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