Inter Miami continued their cup run on Wednesday night, advancing to the US Open Cup final with a penalty shootout win over FC Cincinnati.
Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead in the first half, but Miami fought back to level the match and force extra time. The game went to penalties, and Inter Miami won 5-4.
Lionel Messi was involved in both of Miami’s goals. He provided the assist for Leonardo Campana’s first goal in the 68th minute, and he also delivered the cross for Campana’s second goal in extra time.
Inter Miami will now face Houston Dynamo in the US Open Cup final on September 27. Remarkably Inter Miami are on track to win the treble this season: Leagues Cup, US Open Cup and MLS Cup.
Here are some key takeaways from the match:
- Inter Miami’s comeback was inspired by Lionel Messi. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was unable to score himself, but he provided two assists and was a constant threat to Cincinnati’s defense.
- Miami’s defense was solid throughout the match. They kept Cincinnati at bay for long stretches, and they made some crucial saves in the penalty shootout.
- Cincinnati’s early lead was impressive. They took control of the game in the first half and deserved to be ahead. However, they were unable to hold on to their lead in the second half.
- The penalty shootout was dramatic. Both teams scored their first four penalties, but Drake Callender saved Nick Hagglund’s attempt for Miami. Benjamin Cremaschi then scored the winning penalty to send Inter Miami to the final.
This is a huge win for Inter Miami. They are currently bottom of the MLS table, but they have now reached the final of two cup competitions. They return to MLS action this weekend, and it will take a brave person to not think that they will continue to win games and pull themselves back into the MLS Playoff race. T