Lionel Messi and Inter Miami – fresh from their championship in the League Cup last weekend – are back on the pitch tonight in contention for another title.
Inter Miami travels to face FC Cincinnati in the semifinals US Open Cup – Messi’s sixth game in 22 days and his eighth overall since joining MLS.
Argentina’s World Cup champion and seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, who has scored 10 goals in his first seven games for Inter Miami, will have some much-needed rest on the horizon. But tonight won’t come.
“At one point we said he needed to rest because of the minutes he played,” Messi’s longtime coach Tata Martino said on Monday.
“Clearly, Wednesday will not be that day. If he doesn’t tell me he needs to rest, he’ll keep playing.
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The Inter Miami-FC Cincinnati game begins at TQL Stadium at 7 p.m. ET and can be streamed on the CBS Sports Collazo Network (available free on the CBS Sports app and Pluto TV) and Paramount+, with Spanish-language broadcasts available on Telemundo and Peacock. .
Santiago Arias almost tied the game for FC Cincinnati in overtime.
Arias’ kick hit the crossbar at the top of the net, almost bringing FC Cincinnati into the game.
Alvas Powell misses an attempt at 100Th FC Cincinnati also min.
Four minutes into extra time, and Inter Miami has its first lead of the game.
Joseph Martinez scored 93 runsrd Min, and FC Cincinnati is now on the ropes.
Martinez’s goal was assisted by Benjamin Gremacchi, two of Inter Miami’s late substitutes in the game.
Just when you thought Inter Miami were going to lose their first match of the Messi era, Messi’s magical left boot struck again in ’97.Th min.
Messi fired a left-footed kick into the box and Leo Campana scored his second header in the dying minutes of extra time.
Inter Miami is down and out, and FC Cincinnati has already started its celebration.
Now, we’re tied with the game going into overtime.
Cincy almost takes a 3-1 lead, but the handball
Minutes after Inter Miami returned to the game, there appeared to be a brief moment when they were out of it once again.
FC Cincinnati almost took a 3-1 lead, but their goal was waved off by a volley call.
Yuya Kubo touches the ball with his hand following a corner kick.
Gubo then missed a shot to score 73rd min.
Inter Miami is down, but it’s not out yet.
In the 68th Leonardo Campana headed Messi’s free kick into the net.Th min.
Messi celebrated the goal by tilting his head slightly to the left and pumping his fists in the air before his kick.
Messi and Inter Miami are in danger of suffering their first defeat together.
In the 53rd minute, Brandon Vasquez scored a right-footed strike as Inter Miami trailed 2-0.
Inter Miami had outscored the opposition 22-8 in the seven games prior to tonight.
But this US Open Cup semifinal has been a different story so far.
Call it a League Cup hangover. Or after six games in a 22-day stretch a team is too tired. But FC Cincinnati pounced on Messi and Inter Miami early on.
Four nights after winning the League Cup against Nashville SC on Saturday night, Inter Miami looks a little tired in this match.
Messi had yet to take a shot in the match, but Argentina midfielder Luciano Acosta scored in the 18th minute to give FC Cincinnati the lead.
Aaron Bubentsa scored a goal minutes after Acosta’s goal, but he was ruled offside. Baupensa also missed a direct shot in the final minutes of the first half.
Diego Gomes misses three shots on goal and Jean Motta is shown a yellow card for Inter Miami in the 31′.
Things may change in the second half.
FC Cincinnati is in the group, with Inter Miami facing a deficit after 18 minutes.
Argentina midfielder Luciano Acosta capitalized on a deflected ball to score off the left post.
Minutes later Cincy took a 2-0 lead.
Former professional soccer player and coach and now television analyst Ray Hudson calls tonight’s Inter Miami-FC Cincinnati US Open Cup semifinal game for the CBS Sports Collazo Network.
During Hudson’s time with FC Barcelona, he was a long-time broadcast analyst for games involving Lionel Messi. There is a delightful collection of Hudson’s impassioned calls about Messi’s goals.
If Messi scores tonight, the visitors will be in for a treat. Look…
Bengals star players on hand to watch Messi
Bengals star quarterback Joe Burrow, star receivers Ja’Mar Chase and Dee Higgins and standout defensive end Sam Hubbard were on the field before kickoff.
And they supported their home team by wearing FC Cincinnati jerseys.
Cincinnati fans bake Messy Cookies at Cincinnati Bakery
A Cincinnati bakery thought it would be a great idea to bake some Messi-themed cookies ahead of tonight’s game.
But they were not well received by FC Cincinnati fans.
“Welcome to Naughty! Messy Cookies are available everywhere while supplies last,” Busken Bakery posted in a since-deleted Facebook post.
Among the comments before the Facebook account was deleted:
“Sadness.” “Really buskan?” “Damn it!” “Stop!”
Messi will play against FC Cincinnati
As expected, Messi is in the starting line-up for tonight’s US Open Cup semi-final.
Here are the starting lineups for both sides:
Messi mania has lived up to the hype so far, but how does Messi feel about his move to Inter Miami?
Messi’s family has yet to buy a house. But so far, they’re enjoying being in Miami.
“I can tell you today that I am very happy with the decision we made,” Messi said last Thursday.
“I’m excited to experience this new phase and enjoy living in this country.”
Relive the Messi mania in the League Cup final
Messi was lifted onto the pitch by his Inter Miami teammates after the win.
Messi hugs Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham
And before Messi’s arrival, the club’s captain, DeAndre Yedlin, gave the captain’s armband so he could lift the trophy into the sky after their victory.
More on Messi’s run with Inter Miami and the League Cup
Messi and Inter Miami’s seven-game run during the League Cup was remarkable, especially for a team that has soared so quickly with his addition.
Some of the highlights include:
∎ Messi scored a goal The game-winning goal on his Inter Miami debut came in the 94th minute.
∎ Messi scored two goals in his first start with Inter Miami against Atlanta United, his first in the eighth minute.
∎ Messi scored 2 goals, overcame a yellow card and a jaw injury, in his third game in a 3–1 win over Orlando City.
∎ Messi scored two goals, including the equalizer in the 85th to tie the game at 4Th Inter Miami edged FC Dallas 5-3 on penalty kicks with a minute to go.
∎ Messi scored 86 runsTh Inter Miami beat Charlotte FC 4-0.
Messi scored in Inter Miami’s 4–1 win over Philadelphia Union to reach the League Cup final.
∎ Messi scored early as Inter Miami beat Nashville SC 10-9 in a penalty kick shootout in the League Cup final.
When is the US Open Cup Final?
The Inter Miami-FC Cincinnati winner will face either Real Salt Lake or Houston Dynamo FC in the US Open Cup final on September 27.
The winner of the US Open Cup — the team that is technically the national champion of American soccer — qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions Cup (renamed the CONCACAF Champions League).
But here’s the thing: Inter Miami has already secured a bid to the round of 16 in the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup by winning the League Cup final.
If the US Open Cup winner earns another CONCACAF Champions Cup qualifying spot, the runner-up of the tournament will earn a CONCACAF Champions Cup spot. If the US Open Cup runner-up has multiple Concacaf Champions Cup qualifying spots, the next best MLS club with the most regular season points will earn the slot.
Four MLS teams have already qualified for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup: Inter Miami; Nashville SC (League Cup runner-up); Philadelphia Union (Leagues Cup third-place finisher); and the Vancouver Whitecaps (Canadian Championship winners).