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Two in two!

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Did anyone see this coming?! Not even the most ardent believers in Lionel Messi’s otherworldly abilities would have thought that after having played nine games in the Inter Miami shirt, none in the MLS, the little magician could have two trophies!

That’s the scenario that beckons Inter Miami and Messi as they take on Houston Dynamo in the final of the US Open Cup on September 27.

The most decorated player in football history will have a chance to extend his lead at the top with another silverware in a spell that is reaching utopian levels.

Here’s the match preview, buildup, team news, and more as Lionel Messi era showers accolades on David Beckham’s side!

Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo preview

There’s arguably no team in world football right now with as much wind in their sails as Inter Miami right now.

The Leagues Cup victory was their first piece of silverware and they’ve levelled up in every game they’ve played this season.

The semifinal against Cincinnati was their toughest test to date. Cincinnati are objectively the best team in the MLS right now, with their 51 points from 24 games far exceeding St. Louis’ 44, the second-best total.

Yet, they lost to an Inter Miami side that looks like it can beat anyone right now. Miami held their nerve in the penalty shootout against the league leaders and came away with the victory.

Houston Dynamo, on the other hand, have become somewhat of a cup-specialist squad.

They are sixth in the Western Conference and are a shot-shy team in the league, scoring only 31 in 24 games. For context, Miami has scored 25 in eight since Messi’s arrival.

However, when the cup lights are on, they turn into a different beast. Real Salt Lake were beaten 3-1 in the semifinal and they even found their shooting boots in the league last game. Five unanswered goals were scored against Portland.

Therefore, Dynamo is a team on the up as well.

Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo predicted lineup

Inter Miami team news

Inter Miami manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino tried something different against Cincinnati and it almost cost them the game.

Out went the 4-3-3 which had been giving results in the League Cup and in came 5-3-2 with Messi as a striker. Although the trinity of key players- Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, and Lionel Messi played, the team looked defensively suspect and not as fluid in attack despite scoring thrice.

Furthermore, emerging stars Robert Taylor and Josef Martinez started on the bench.

It is fair to assume that Martino will go back to his tried and tested lineup for the marquee final.

Predicted Inter Miami XI: Callender, Yedlin, Miller, Kryvtsov, Alba, Arroyo, Busquets, Cremaschi, Messi, Martinez, Taylor

Houston Dynamo team news

Like Miami, Houston also made some changes in the semifinal against Real Salt Lake but the team that beat Portland 5-0 in a comprehensive display should be the one that starts here.

European football fans will be familiar with iconic Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera who now mans the midfield for Dynamos.

Predicted Houston Dynamo XI: Clark, Dorsey, Sviatchenko, Micael, Escobar, Artur, Herrera, Carrasquilla, Bassi, Iturre, Baird

Inter Miami vs Houston Dynamo prediction

There really is no reason to doubt Inter Miami in their current form. Cincinnati away was the toughest test and they passed it with flying colours.

On paper, the final is easier than that. Houston Dynamo, for all their form in the previous games, are a weaker side on paper. Furthermore, Miami will be back at their home, the DRV PNK Stadium which has fallen in love with Messi.

Expect Miami to ride that wave to victory in a comprehensive performance to stamp their name on another trophy in the Lionel Messi era.

FootTheBall predicts Inter Miami 3-1 Houston Dynamo.

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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