US OPEN CUP
Who are the Houston Dynamo’s best players? Héctor Herrera, Amine Bassi...
The Texans face Inter Miami in the 2023 Lamar Hunt Open Cup final in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.
As Lionel Messi and Inter Miami struggled to scrape through their US Open Cup 2023 semifinal against FC Cincinnati, Houston Dynamo had fewer problems eliminating Real Salt Lake in the other semi-final at Shell Energy Stadium, although the match had to be settled in extra-time. The Texans now face The Herons in the final on Wednesday 27 September.
Houston will be looking to add the title to their two US Cup wins (2006 and 2007) and were crowned Open Cup champions back in 2018. For Inter Miami, the Open Cup presents an opportunity to win just their second title in their brief existence after a Messi inspired team won the 2023 Leagues Cup in August.
Making the US Open Cup final also delivered an additional boost to ‘Orange Crush’ as they are now assured of a place in the Concacaf Champions Cup for the first time. Houston qualify for the 2024 edition after Inter Miami secured its place as Leagues Cup 2023 champions. The US Open Cup champions also qualify for the Concacaf Champions Cup, meaning that both will go through regardless of how Wednesday’s game ends.
The Dynamo are enjoying a solid season and look like a safe bet to secure a top four place in the Western Conference table. Despite it being is first season in charge of the Texans, new head coach Ben Olsen has hit the ground running and in his first season at the helm, has installed a gritty, dynamic style that uses the midfield trio of spiritual leader Hector Herrera, Coco Carrasquilla and Artur to great effect.
Houston were on a seven game unbeaten run ahead of the weekend defeat to Sporting KC and are many people’s outsiders going into the game in Fort Lauderdale but so much of what happens on Wednesday is hinged on the availability of Miami’s former three Barcelona players being fit.
Much of the keys to Houston’s success depends on captain Hector Herrera who pulls the strings at the heart if the Dynamo middle and at times evokes his idol Juan Roman Riquelme in a classic number-ten role.
The Houston midfield is one of the versatile in MLS with the solid French born Morocco U-21 player Amine Bassi and the promising Adalberto ‘Coco’ Carrasquilla, who’s been one of the revelations of the 2023 season and was instrumental in taking Panama to the final of the 2023 Gold Cup earlier this summer.