23 Aug FC Cincinnati 3-3 Inter Miami CF (Aug 23, 2023) Game Analysis – ESPN
Messi delivered two exquisite crosses onto the head of Argentine compatriot Leonardo Campana, the second with just a minute of stoppage time remaining, to rescue his team and force extra time.
Substitute Josef Martínez looked to have completed the turnaround with a cool finish in the third minute of the added 30 but Cincinnati refused to lay down and made it 3-3 through Yuya Kubo to force a shootout.
It was Miami’s second shootout in four days, after beating Nashville SC in the Leagues Cup final on Saturday to lift the first trophy in club history.
Messi scored from the spot but once again it was goalkeeper Drake Callender who made himself the hero, producing the only save of the shootout from Nick Hagglund before Benjamin Cremaschi fired home the winning kick.
Miami can now look forward to another final, against either the Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake, next month. Meanwhile, a shell-shocked Cincinnati, which had looked set to reach its first-ever final, becomes the latest victim of an extraordinary Miami run since Messi landed in South Florida.