The second round of the US Open Cup was a match that many different layers to it. Sure at the top there is the Miami United victory, however, looking back of the match there was a lot that culminated in the result for the NPSL juggernaut. An early goal, high presses that would make your nose bleed, cards galore, and fateful tactical decisions all culminated together to bring Miami FC’s 2018 cup run to an end.
As with most of Miami FC’s most important matches, there would be an extensive weather delay despite not one drop of rain touching FIU Soccer Stadium. Lightning in the vicinity forced security to remove early patrons and all of the media personnel around 6PM. The stadium would be vacant for another 75 minutes before we were allowed back in. Warm-ups that should have begun around 630 did not begin until 8, pushing the scheduled kickoff time back a full 90 minutes.
Early on both squads exchanged chances as Miami FC benefitted on long balls to spring the counter attack against United’s high press. Kris Tyrpak would find himself floating across the attacking end switching wings early on with Dario Suarez to take full advantage of United’s fullbacks. An amazing run down the right hand side in the 16th minute earned the Blues a corner. The corner would almost be a disaster for United as Peterson fumbled the handle and barely kept it out of his own net.
In the 18th minute, the defense would part for Ariel Martinez. With great awareness to pick up his head and scan the field, Martinez would find Dylan Mares in the box. Mares would make no mistake with the pass and blast it home on a half-volley beating the United goalie to put Miami in the lead. A second goal was almost put in a minute later by Jaime Chavez, but his volley, on yet another corner, would skirt past the far post.
United would continue pressing the action throughout the first half earning set piece after set piece in the attacking zone. Miami’s defense would be up for the test time and time again clearing each set piece without any severely threatening the goal. In the 41st minute, referee Andres Vidales would instruct play to continue after a dangerous challenge was made on Ariel Martinez in the middle of the field. The play-on almost provided United with their first goal of the night as a free kick moments later would find side-netting.
Vidales night would continue to be controversial. In the 46th minute after being dispossessed, Kris Tyrpak would take exception to the physical play from United and give away a free kick. As Kris Tyrpak walked away from the foul the United bench went wild with every bench player and staff member encircling the fourth official. Allegedly, Tyrpark stomped on the United player who was on the ground. The fourth official would call over Vidales and the red card was issued ending Tyrpak’s night.
Neither team elected to make changes at the break and the game proceeded with the Blues being a man down. Miami United would find an equalizer quickly in the 49th minute. After a terrible ball was played into the midfield by Rhett Bernstein, a ricochet would fall at the feet of United’s David Ochoa. The striker would rush past Bernstein and beat Miami FC keeper Daniel Vega to level the match at one.
Just moments later in the 52nd minute, Vega’s goal kick would be headed back into the defensive zone. Bernstein’s rough night would continue as Ochoa’s pace was too much to handle for the Miami FC centreback. Ochoa would beat Vega yet again putting United ahead for the first time in the match.
Right after allowing the pair of goals, Paul Dalglish made a tactical decision to bring the game in from the usual wide style of Miami FC. Dario Suarez would come off the pitch for Jeff Michaud. In the 67th minute, moments after being booked by the referee for arguing Vincenzo Rennella would be benched for Don Smart. Vega would come up huge a handful of times more for Miami FC as he managed to make each save looked comfortable to keep the Blues in the game. Bernstein would continue to be on an island against Miami United’s forwards and would be replaced by Coy Craft in the 77th minute.
The Blues would be without their best playmaker and arguably their best forward for the remaining 13-plus minutes in the match. Despite multiple efforts at goal, the United defense held firm and would keep the Blues at bay. It was all but over in the 93rd minute before a careless pass allowed United’s Victor Pelae to pick the pockets of the final Miami FC defender and beating Vega for the final tally in the match.
All in all, there were seven yellow cards in total issued to both teams and a red. Miami United jumped at every opportunity that Miami FC allowed and they managed to cash in and just about every single one. We caught up with Miami FC’s manager post-match in what was an emotional moment for all involved with Miami FC.
Miami United will travel up I-95 next Wednesday to take on NASL-exile Jacksonville Armada. The third round of the open cup will likely decide who gets to face Orlando City (MLS) for the rights to call themselves Kings of Florida in 2018. The two NPSL clubs have yet to meet this season, and surely we are in for one amazing match.