With a chance to host Messi in the final, Real Salt Lake stumbles in Open Cup semi

Houston Dynamo advances to the cup final with a 3-1 victory.

(Michael Wyke | AP) Houston Dynamo midfielder Hector Herrera, left, blocks out Real Salt Lake midfielder Braian Ojeda, right, as Herrera looks to pass the ball during the first half of a U.S. Open Cup soccer semifinal soccer match, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Houston.

Real Salt Lake’s Andrew Brody didn’t want to look ahead.

But the prospect of hosting the U.S. Open Cup final — and a potential matchup with Lionel Messi — was too enticing to ignore entirely.

“Hosting a final at home would be something else,” the RSL defender said this week.

Something else.

And now someone else’s opportunity.

RSL faltered in Wednesday’s semifinal matchup, losing 3-1 on the road to the Houston Dynamo, to end the team’s Open Cup run.

Houston’s Hector Herrera put the Dynamo up 1-0 in first-half stoppage time thanks to a botched clearance by Brody. But RSL got back on equal footing when Anderson Julio headed home a cross from Jefferson Savarino in the 64th minute.

With the game tied after 90 minutes, the Dynamo found another gear in extra time.

Houston’s Adalberto Carrasquilla scored on the final kick of the first extra period, a right-footed shot toward the far post, and Luis Caicedo sealed the deal with a 120th-minute goal of his own.

RSL defender Brayan Vera was shown a red card in the 116th minute.

The Dynamo advanced to face Messi and Inter Miami in the cup final.

Messi had two assists and converted a penalty kick as Inter Miami rallied from a two-goal deficit and beat MLS-leading Cincinnati 5-4 in penalties in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday night.

RSL, meanwhile, will see the Dynamo again this weekend, as Houston heads to America First Field for a league match on Saturday night.