How to watch & stream
- English: CBS Sports Network, Paramount+
- Spanish: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
- Wednesday, Sept. 27 | 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT
- DRV PNK Stadium | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The 108th edition of the national cup, just like every year since 2000, will end with an MLS champion receiving silverware and prize money. Unlike in years past, a Concacaf Champions Cup berth isn’t up for grabs after Inter Miami (Leagues Cup winner) and Houston (US Open Cup finalist) already secured their 2024 spots earlier this season.
If the score is level after 90 minutes of regulation time, Inter Miami and Houston will play 30 minutes of extra time. If there’s still no winner, a penalty kick shootout awaits.
Will Lionel Messi play? That’s the question circling the MLS community after the GOAT, alongside Jordi Alba, was a first-half injury substitute in Inter Miami’s 4-0 win over Toronto FC last Wednesday (Sept. 20). Head coach Tata Martino left everything open-ended in his matchday-1 press conference, noting Messi’s absence relates to an old scar tissue problem and Alba is battling muscle fatigue.
The Herons must also determine the availability of Sergio Busquets, their third ex-FC Barcelona star who reinvigorated the club as a summertime signing. Busquets was rested for Inter Miami’s last match, a 1-1 derby draw at Orlando City SC that further clarified what’s needed to climb into the Eastern Conference’s Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs field (currently 14th place; five points back).
Big picture, Inter Miami can raise silverware in front of their home fans after defeating Nashville SC away in penalty kicks on Aug. 19 to become Leagues Cup champions. That was the club’s first-ever trophy, and a second would certainly make 2023 a success regardless of how their postseason aspirations unfold.
Houston can lift their second US Open Cup trophy in six years after they defeated the Philadelphia Union in 2018’s final. The Texan club’s in a far different place now, though.
The Dynamo, who last made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in 2017, are fourth in the Western Conference table. They also have a bonafide Best XI presented by Continental candidate in Herrera, the longtime Mexican national team captain who has 4g/14a in 27 games this season. Head coach Ben Olsen, in his first season at the helm, has installed a gritty, dynamic style that uses the midfield trio of Herrera, Coco Carrasquilla and Artur to great effect.
While Messi & Co. have gained the majority of headlines, Houston will like their chances of playing spoiler. Their squad’s been rebuilt by general manager Pat Onstad in recent transfer windows, creating a deserving place in the USOC final.