How We Got Here: Inter Miami CF's Journey to the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final

September 25, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Inter Miami CF News Release

The past few months have been quite eventful for the Inter Miami CF family. Just over a month ago, the Club was celebrating the historic conquest of its first official trophy, and now the team is getting ready to do it all again. The night of Wednesday, Sept. 27 promises lots of thrills and emotions as the Club achieves yet another milestone in Inter Miami's short and successful existence, when the team hosts its first-ever final at DRV PNK Stadium. The occasion will see Inter Miami battle it out on the pitch with the Houston Dynamo to determine who gets the honor of being crowned 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions.

As the clock winds down and the Club's loyal fans get ready to once again take over DRV PNK Stadium to cheer on the boys as they fight Por La Segunda, let's revisit Inter Miami's U.S. Open Cup journey en route to the final.

Dominating on the Road

Inter Miami wasn't able to count on the unique atmosphere generated by its fans in its home ground for most fixtures in the team's 2023 Open Cup run, but that was no problem for the boys. Inter Miami played three of its five matches in the competition on the road, defeating Miami FC 3-5 in penalties after a 2-2 draw in regulation in the Third Round, knocking out Birmingham Legion FC with a 0-1 win in the Quarterfinals, and booking its place in the final after overtaking current MLS Supporters' Shield leaders FC Cincinnati 4-5 from the spot in the semifinals after an exhilarating 3-3 draw.

In its other two matchups, the team dispatched the Charleston Battery with a 1-0 win in the Round of 32 and topped Nashville SC 2-1 in the Round of 16 in home games at DRV PNK Stadium.

Late Drama

Inter Miami's path to the final was never lacking in emotion. In particular, there were two matchups that had fans at the edge of their seats as the team fought from behind to get the result, showing the team's characteristic never-say-die attitude. In its first match of its 2023 Open Cup campaign back on April 26, Inter Miami came from behind twice before defeating Miami FC from the spot, with striker Shanyder Borgelin leveling the scoring at one in the 89th minute, and center-back Ryan Sailor subsequently netting the final 2-2 equalizer in the final two minutes of extra time to send the match to penalties.

Fast forward to Aug. 23 and a new-look Inter Miami, with the recent arrivals of six summer signings, was taking the pitch at TQL Stadium to face FC Cincinnati in the semifinals. Early on in the second half the home side was up 2-0 and seemed to be heading to victory, but a certain Argentine maestro and our towering Ecuadorian striker had other plans in mind. Buoyed by two inch-perfect assists from Messi, headers from Campana inside the box in the 68th minute and in the seventh minute of added time got Inter Miami back into the race to fight for its place in the final. Forward Josef Martínez then gave the team a momentary lead in extra time in the 93d minute before Cincinnati equalized in the 114th minute to send the game to penalties. Inter Miami's five penalty takers then scored from the spot to win 4-5 in penalties and complete the heroic comeback.

Team Leaders

Inter Miami attackers have been in charge of leading the team to the final in the competition. The team's top scorers have been Campana, with his brace against Cincinnati, and Nicolás Stefanelli, who bagged the winners in the matchups against Nashville and Birrmingham Legion, with two goals apiece. Distribution-wise, Messi and winger Corentin Jean lead the way with two assists each.

How to Watch the Final?

Date and Time: Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET

English: CBS Sports Network, Paramount+

Spanish: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock

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