Injured misses Inter miami Cup final defeat


Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF reacts after a play in the first half during a match between Inter Miami CF and Los Angeles Football Club at BMO Stadium on September 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

The injured Lionel Messi watched from the stands as Inter Miami lost 2-1 to Houston Dynamo in the final of US Open Cup.

Forward Messi, 36, was substituted against Toronto FC last week because of an "old injury" and sat out Miami's draw at Orlando City on Monday.

Griffin Dorsey and an Amine Bassi penalty put Houston 2-0 up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Josef Martinez scored a consolation for Miami in stoppage time.

Houston goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell made three saves as Dynamo clinched their second US Open Cup in five years.

Miami's Spain defender Jordi Alba also missed the game because of injury.

Miami manager Gerardo Martino said Argentina World Cup winner Messi's return to full fitness was the club's top priority.

"It was not prudent for him to play. We couldn't even consider playing him for a few minutes because we would be taking risks," said former Barcelona and Argentina boss Martino.

Martino said Messi will "certainly play before the league is over".

The regular MLS season ends on 21 October, with the play-offs taking place from 25 October to 9 December.

Messi has scored 11 goals and provided five assists for the MLS franchise since joining in July after his Paris St-Germain contract expired.

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