First-half goals from Griffin Dorsey and Amine Bassi (penalty kick) clinched the Dynamo’s first trophy of the Ben Olsen era, and their first overall since a 2018 USOC conquest. Second-half substitute Josef Martínez pulled one back for Miami in stoppage time, but it was too little too late as the hosts were left empty-handed.
The injured Messi wasn’t in head coach Gerardo Martino’s team sheet – nor was fellow superstar summer signing Jordi Alba – and Houston took full advantage, outplaying and outperforming a Miami side that lacked the power and precision the legendary No. 10 supplied en route to their historic Leagues Cup 2023 title last month.
First-year head coach Olsen had the tactical edge over Martino from the start, with the Dynamo dominating the hosts in virtually every offensive metric in the opening 45 minutes.
That scenario inevitably led to Dorsey’s 24th-minute opener, the culmination of a perfectly worked build-up the fullback slammed home with his right boot. Eleven minutes later, another line-splitting sequence gave DeAndre Yedlin no recourse but to foul Nelson Quiñónes inside the box. PK specialist Bassi took care of the rest, beating goalkeeper Drake Callender from the spot to add to Houston’s cushion.
Miami flirted with a late comeback via Martinez's quick-look goal, but Houston would not be denied.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Dynamo, who arguably underwent an even more drastic transformation than Miami this season (17 signings total), have something tangible to show for their new project. A serious Audi MLS Cup Playoffs run could also be in the cards as Héctor Herrera and Co. fight for home-field positioning. Things aren't as clear for the Herons, who have five games left to make up a five-point gap between them and the ninth-and-final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Will Messi and Alba be a part of that march towards Decision Day on Oct. 21?
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Nothing sets the tone in a final like the opening goal. Houston looked every bit the tiki-taka practitioners that have characterized Messi's sides as they broke the ice with a legit golazo. There was no turning back after that.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: The final piece of said golazo, Dorsey made the most of his moment in the spotlight with a screamer that put the bow on a well-worked team goal.