A Cinderella story may have ended for Birmingham Legion as they lost 1-0 to Inter Miami behind a sole goal from Nicolas Stefanelli in the second half. But the USL Championship side should hold their heads high. To make it to the final eight teams in the tournament and dropping a close match is always a hard pill to swallow. But Inter Miami is only two victories away from their first title in club history and will now have Lionel Messi to help push them over the hump.
In the next round, they will face FC Cincinnati, who lead the Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield standings as the team with the most points in the league. But a lot can change between now and August 23. Messi is projected to be with Inter by then. It's assumed he will have found his footing well before the semifinal matchup as Tata Martino, who has already won silverware in Major League Soccer, could be his new coach.
In fact, for a club yet to win a trophy in its history, Inter Miami could be in the running for a treble this season. While they're in last place in the Eastern Conference, the team is only six points off of a playoff place, and if they can close that gap, they can't be ruled out of making a run at the MLS Cup. They'll also be competing in Leauges Cup, a new competition featuring domestic and Liga MX teams, and then they have a shot at winning Open Cup.
For a team that has already fired manager Phil Neville this season and fell to the bottom of the league, it would be remarkable for them to win one trophy, let alone three. But with Messi, nothing can be ruled out for Inter Miami.