U.S. Open Cup final live score, updates, highlights as Lionel Messi is out for Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo

After Inter Miami secured their first trophy in club history just a month ago thanks to Lionel Messi’s introduction, the Herons now look to bag an even more prestigious crown as they contest the 2023 U.S. Open Cup final against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday.

In its 108th edition, the oldest competitive trophy in top-level U.S. professional sports is a coveted prize.

While Lionel Messi works to recover from an injury, it seemed that he might be involved in this match, but instead he is not included on the team sheet and misses out altogether. Instead, Inter Miami will effort to win their first-ever U.S. Open Cup and second-ever trophy without the greatest player in the world.

The Houston Dynamo, meanwhile, last won the U.S. Open Cup in 2018, their first cup title in history, and they could become just the sixth club still in existence to win the competition multiple times if they emerge victorious here.

The Sporting News is following the U.S. Open Cup final live, providing score updates, commentary and highlights below as they happen.

U.S. Open Cup final live score

Kickoff: 8:35 p.m. ET
Location: DRV PNK Stadium (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)
Official: Jon Freemon

  Score (1H) Goal scorers
Inter Miami 0
Houston Dynamo 0

Starting lineups:

Inter Miami (4-3-3, right to left): Callender (GK) — Yedlin, Kryvtsov, Miller, Allen — Yedlin, Gomez, Busquets, Cremaschi — Taylor, Campana, Farias.

Houston Dynamo (4-3-3, right to left): Tarbell (GK) — Escobar, Sviatchenko, Micael, Dorsey — Carrasquilla, Herrera, Artur — Bassi, Baird, Quinones.

Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo live updates, highlights, commentary

Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo: First Half

16th min: Now an Inter Miami defender picks up a booking as Serhiy Kryvtsov is shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Adalberto Carrasquillo. He arrived well after the ball had been offloaded, and barged into the Dynamo midfielder.

15th min: Chance, Houston Dynamo! Drake Callender makes the game’s first save! Inter Miami have been under pressure early!

12th min: The first yellow card of the match is shown to Franco Escobar who clatters Benja Cremaschi with a wild swing of the leg into the midsection of the Inter Miami midfielder. It didn’t seem to have dangerous intent as the ball was high in the air, but Escobar was late and the resulting challenge was ugly.

11th min: Chance, Houston Dynamo! There seemed to be space on the shot as the Dynamo break Inter Miami’s press and have numbers forward, but Kamal Miller makes a last-second block on a shot by Nelson Quinones! The young Colombian had cut inside on his right and seemed to have a good look on frame, but Miller denied the chance at the last possible moment.

9th min: Both teams are playing a defensive style and looking to get forward on the counter. It’s causing the match to be played in a back-and-forth manner with very few sustained possessions.

4th min: Inter Miami look bright in their build-up, but their first two forays into the attacking third are cut down by mistakes. First, they get forward down the left but after Robert Taylor’s cut back to Diego Gomez at the top of the penalty area, a heavy touch off Gomez’s foot betrays him before he can get a shot off. Then, a minute later, Sergio Busquets is very late getting the ball to Taylor’s run and it’s intercepted easily.

1st min: These are two of the most chaotic teams in MLS, and that’s evident right from the start as the Houston Dynamo begin on the ball. Diego Gomez, just returning from an injury suffered over the international break, slips on the rain-soaked grass, and while Kamal Miller steals a vertical ball, he clears it right back to Griffin Dorsey.

This match could get weird.

Kickoff: The teams have been introduced with a shredding electric guitar and sparking pyrotechnics at DRV PNK Stadium, the national anthem has been performed by The Voice contestant Kennedy Holmes, and the match is now under way!

Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo: Pre-match commentary, analysis, stats, and more

5 mins to kickoff: There is NOT a 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup berth on the line in tonight’s match. The U.S. Open Cup champion generally qualifies for the North American continental tournament, but due to Inter Miami having already qualified for the competition via their Leagues Cup title a month ago, the Houston Dynamo have therefore automatically earned a spot regardless of tonight’s outcome.

Also, of note, while Lionel Messi is not in the squad tonight, he would still earn a trophy and a medal should Inter Miami emerge victorious tonight, since he played in the semifinal and is part of the competition roster. You know, just in case.

10 mins to kickoff: Despite earlier reports that Lionel Messi was nowhere to be found at DRV PNK Stadium, he has indeed made his way to the venue for the match tonight. He will be in attendance to support Inter Miami.

20 mins to kickoff: Zinedine Zidane is in the house! He reunites with a former Real Madrid teammate of his, Inter Miami owner David Beckham.

35 mins to kickoff: For the Houston Dynamo, head coach Ben Olsen has kept his cup goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell in that role for the final, but has switched to a back four, away from the 3-5-2 he has utilized for many of the team’s recent matches. Sebastian Kowalczyk is sacrificed to add an extra forward in 21-year-old winger Nelson Quinones.

50 mins to kickoff: Lineups are in, and indeed Lionel Messi does not start for Inter Miami. In fact, he doesn’t even appear on the team sheet, meaning he will not be involved at all for Inter Miami. Gerardo Martino has been steadfast that this match was the top priority for Inter Miami, and therefore Messi, even above the MLS playoff race. Messi’s injury must be significant for him to miss out tonight.

Messi did not appear out on the pitch to warm up with the rest of the Inter Miami squad as they came out onto the field with about an hour to go before kickoff.

1 hour to kickoff: Lineups are imminent, so while we wait, a look at the referee for tonight’s final, Jon Freemon. Just 34 years old, Freemon is a regular referee in Major League Soccer, telling U.S. Soccer that he started refereeing games at 13 years old and worked his way up through youth travel leagues, USL League Two, USL League One, and then finally MLS.

He has worked the USL League One final and was the VAR official for the 2021 MLS Eastern Conference final. Freemon called his selection for this match “just an absurd honor,” noting how important this game will be given the added attention with Inter Miami’s participation.

Freeman is one of the more lenient referees in MLS this season, handing out 3.75 yellow cards per match, which ranks him 20th out of 25 referees with at least 10 matches officiated. He does not, however, hesitate to blow his whistle, as his 0.85 fouls per tackle mark puts him just sixth, meaning while he will call fouls regularly, he is selective when it comes to booking players.

1 hour 15 mins to kick: The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, set to conclude its 108th edition, is the oldest top-level professional sports trophy in the United States. It’s so old that most of its champions are no longer in existence. Three different MLS clubs have won four titles each, but they are far from the only multiple-time winners of the competition.

Learn more about the U.S. Open Cup name, history, and champions here.

Get a look at all the results from this year’s U.S. Open Cup here.

1 hour 30 mins to kick: Florida weather can be unpredictable, and it appears they got some last-minute raid ahead of today’s match. It appears to be pretty gross in Fort Lauderdale this evening, with muddy parking lots and overcast skies. The weather report says there will be scattered thunderstorms right up until kickoff.

1 hour 45 mins to kick: There is a report out that Lionel Messi will not start tonight, but that instead he will come off the bench, likely to play around 30 minutes.

To add some speculation, it would be surprising to see Messi play if Inter Miami have a lead, but if they are level or trailing in the second half, that’s where Messi could see the field. If they are winning, it would be smart for Inter Miami to protect their star in a situation where he is not otherwise needed.

2 hours to kickoff: Lionel Messi’s potential participation in this match is by far the biggest storyline, and it will surely go right up until kickoff. The report by Gaston Edul of TyC Sports from yesterday indicated that Messi’s ability to start the match is growing more unlikely, but that he is pushing to be involved as a substitute.

That’s probably the most plausible scenario at this point, as it would allow Inter Miami to rest Messi completely if they manage to secure a lead without him, but also leave him able to enter should they need his services to turn around a deficit.

Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo lineups & team news

Inter Miami has publicly insisted their goal is to have Lionel Messi fit to start this match, prioritizing the U.S. Open Cup final over the MLS playoff run. Tata Martino indicated that if this was a regular league match, Messi would not be risked, but since it’s a cup final, “we might take that risk.” A report on Tuesday indicated it will be “difficult” for Messi to start, and that he will target simply making himself available off the bench.

Tata Martino indicated in his pre-match press conference that they will “wait until the last minute to see how he [Messi] feels.” Martino did say that Jordi Alba‘s participation is unlikely, but they have not ruled him completely out.

Martino has been rotating between tactical setups, sometimes operating with four at the back, and sometimes three, so it’s been difficult to predict his starting lineup from game to game. The coach addressed this on Tuesday, noting that the lack of time between matches has been difficult to combat.

Inter Miami starting lineup (4-3-3): Callender (GK) — Yedlin, Kryvtsov, Miller, Allen — Yedlin, Gomez, Busquets, Cremaschi — Taylor, Campana, Farias.

Inter Miami subs (7): Dos Santos (GK), McVey, Aviles, Arroyo, D. Ruiz, Stefanelli, J. Martinez.

The only injuries for Houston Dynamo are long-term issues for Ifunanyachi Achara and Tate Schmitt. Achara has a knee issue that will keep him out for another few weeks, while Schmitt’s torn ACL has him done for the year.

Otherwise, the Dynamo will be at full strength for this Cup final, with international veterans Hector Herrera and Coco Carrasquilla to run the midfield, supporting the attacking spine of Amine Bassi and Corey Baird.

Andrew Tarbell has been charged with goalkeeping duties throughout the U.S. Open Cup fixtures, so it can be expected he will again be deployed over regular No. 1 Steve Clark again unless head coach Ben Olsen decides to switch things up.

Houston Dynamo starting lineup (4-3-3): Tarbell (GK) — Escobar, Sviatchenko, Micael, Dorsey — Carrasquilla, Herrera, Artur — Bassi, Baird, Quinones.

Houston Dynamo subs (7): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)

How to watch Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo

MORE: Watch Premier League matches live with Fubo in USA

  TV channel Streaming
USA English: CBS Sports Network
Spanish: Telemundo, Universo
English: Fubo, Paramount+
SpanishFubo, Peacock
Canada  — DAZN

Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo betting odds & lines

  Inter Miami
win (90 mins)
Draw Houston
win (90 mins)
Both teams
to score Y / N
Over / Under
3.5 goals
Inter Miami
lift trophy
lift trophy
-115 +250 +225 -200 / +135 +130 / -190 -200 +140

-112 +267 +232 -213 / +132 +132 / -185

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