Inter Miami does it again! The Herons are through to the US Open Cup finals after triumphing 5-4 in penalties against FC Cincinnati following a 3-3 draw during extra time.
Cincinnati kicked off stronger in TQL Stadium, quickly muting Messi and defeated Miami’s backline to reach the final third. Lucho Acosta then opened up the score, converting one of the first opportunities at goal after finding a pass from Aaron Boupendza inside the box.
The Herons attempted to fight back after the goal, but USMNT figure Brandon Vazquez doubled the score for assert a dominance at home. But Pat Noonan read the game wrong, making costly subtitutions while holding the 2-0 lead that would soon contribute to Cincinnati’s downfall. Without Acosta and Vazquez on the field, Inter Miami ran free.
Leonardo Campana lead the comeback efforts, scoring two consecutive goals with assists from none other than Lionel Messi. The 2-2 draw in regular time inspired an extra 30 minutes to be played, where both Josef Martinez and Yuya Kubo found the back of the net to settle the score at 3-3 and force penalties.
At this point, Drake Callendar is used to the high pressure situation. The Inter Miami goalkeeper made a great save on Nick Hagglund’s attempt to win the game for the South Florida side and secure their ticket to the final.
GK: Drake Callender – 7/10 – Good on penalties, proving himself once again but regular time remains a problem. Especially on that third Cincinnati goal, if you get a touch on it you have to keep that ball out.
RB: DeAndre Yedlin – 6.5/10 – A shaky performance by the USMNT, not as bright as previously seen. A couple costly mistakes.
CB: Tomás Avilés – 5/10 – Looked too green, late on the first two goals.
CB: Serhiy Kryvstov – 6/10 – Exposed for several weaknesses.
CB: Kamal Miller – 6.5/10 – Mediocre.
LB: Jordi Alba – 6/10 – Constantly making runs down the left-hand side but Cincinnati maintained him well.
CM: Diego Gómez – 6/10 – He delivered, not necessarily well but delievered. He is still adapting to the team, hasn’t found his role.
CM: Sergio Busquets – 7/10 – A decent perfomance. Not the most showy, but complete nonetheless.
CM: Jean Mota – 7.5/10 – Tata rested Benjamin Cremaschi which could’ve been a costly mistake. Mota wasn’t terrible, but hasn’t established the same connection with the attack.
RW: Lionel Messi – 8/10 – Lucho Acosta did a great job in muting the World Cup champions, but he remains lethal when given the space. The assist on the second goal was a classic.
ST: Leonardo Campana – 10/10 – Two goals after getting his first start in a while, maybe now Tata Martino will start believing in the Ecuadorian striker.
Facundo Farias (58′ for DeAndre Yedlin) – 7/10 – Did well, nothing spectacular.
David Ruiz (58′ for Jean Mota) – 10/10 – Rejuvenated the team and scored his penalty.
Robert Taylor (58′ for Kamal Miller) – 6/10 – Took a bit to get adjusted to the game.
Josef Martinez (68′ for Diego Gomez) – 10/10 – Came in and scored the third goal.
Noah Allen (78′ for Tomas Aviles) – N/A
Benjamin Cremaschi (90′ for Leonardo Campana) – 10/10 – Converted his attempt during the shootout.
Gerardo Martino – 6/10 – Chose a completely different starting 11 to confuse players. Substitutions came a bit late, but the players delivered. Didn’t read the game as well as he could’ve.
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