- Josef Martínez (90'+1')
- Griffin Dorsey (24')
- Amine Bassi (33' Pen)
First-half goals from Griffin Dorsey and Amine Bassi were enough to give Houston the Cup, having also won it 2018, but it was the absence of Miami talisman Messi that put the home side at a clear disadvantage.
Messi had missed Miami's previous game against Orlando City with a leg injury that first surfaced during his time with Argentina earlier in September. His availability remains in question when Miami restarts MLS regular season play on Saturday against New York City FC, the team it trails by five points for the final MLS Cup playoff spot.
On a soggy pitch that took on rain throughout the day, Inter Miami looked a step behind early on, failing to maintain possession and committing some sloppy turnovers. One of those, from midfielder Facundo Farías, led to Houston's first goal.
Farias turned it over near midfield, and Houston pounced in transition. Eventually, Artur found Dorsey racing into the penalty area on his right and he powered a shot past Drake Callender to give the Dynamo the 1-0 lead.
Two minutes earlier, Callender made impressive back-to-back saves to initially keep Houston off the board -- one glove save off the foot of Nelson Quiñones, then another with his right leg on the rebound attempt from Corey Baird.
But Callender couldn't hold off the Dynamo for much longer, and after the opening goal from Dorsey, Houston earned a penalty in the 33rd minute. Quinones had been having his way with Deandre Yedlin on the left wing throughout the first half, creating several chances after getting past the U.S. defender.
In the 34th minute, Quinones' work paid off, earning a penalty after a desperate challenge from Yedlin, who was also given a yellow card. Bassi took the penalty for Houston, sending it up the middle of goal, past the feet of a diving Callender.
While the Dynamo did most of its damage in transition, Miami appeared disconnected in the final third and could not create many opportunities. Miami's best chance in the first half came in the 42nd minute, when Benjamin Creamaschi had a clean look at goal from just outside the box, but he sailed his attempt over the crossbar.
Miami's scoring chances improved in the second half, but without Messi, Gerardo Martino's team could not break through before stoppage time.
Houston looked to have taken a commanding 3-0 lead in the 73rd minute when Quinones finished a Dynamo counter-attack with a shot past Callender, but after review, Quinones was found to be offside, leaving Miami with some hope.
In the second minute of stoppage time, Josef Martínez finally broke through and got Inter on the board with three-plus minutes remaining in stoppage time. Despite a frantic push, Miami couldn't equalize, setting off a wild celebration for Houston on the field and the sidlelines.
- Jon Freemon