When we began the 2018 campaign here at Magic City Soccer we had a feeling a Miami club would make the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. When you have five teams in the tournament from the area, surely one would come out of the local fixtures and get the opportunity to play for a match against a Major League Soccer opponent. What we didn’t know was that Miami United would be that very club.
Miami United has shown that they will not be intimated in the 2018 season and they will not settle for being an understudy to the NASL exiles. In all honesty, many overlooked the key additions that United brought into their roster that have made all the difference for the club from Hialeah. Adding dynamic skill to their roster with the likes of David Ochoa, Victor Pelae, Tomas Granitto, Gabrielle Privitera, and European experience in Nicolas Gorobsov, the fivesome have catapulted Miami United into an offensive juggernaut unusual for the NPSL.
The experience and fitness of these five men have launched Miami United into a potential Open Cup cinderella story that shares similarities with the 2017 Christos FC. David Ochoa and Victor Pelae bring local flavor to the club as both players spent time with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers organization. Tomas Granitto brings over 50 appearances in the NASL/USL with several organizations. Nicolas Gorobsov has floated throughout some of the European top-flights spending time in Italy, Romania, and Israel. Privitera, the 19 year old speedster, signed is first professional contract with Miami United this offseason and brings lightning quick pace to the forward group.
United come into the third round match, against NPSL opponent Jacksonville Armada, leading the Sunshine Conference. In 6 matches (most in conference), United boasts a 3-2-1 record with a +15 goal differential. Tallying 19 goals, the five-some have accounted for 12 of those. For United to win the match, they must sustain the pressure and experience that Jacksonville will bring early into the match.
On paper, no one will be blamed for looking at the rosters and giving a slight nod to the Armada. This match could be rather similar to the three fixtures against Miami FC. Surely, the Armada will look to use their professional experience to test United’s defense early and often. If the second round tape shows anything, it’s that United can be vulnerable on the wings where Kris Tyrpak terrorized the defense in the first half of the second round match up.
United must take advantage of all defensive lapses that the Armada offers. Ochoa’s brace in the second round contest came off defensive blunders by the Miami FC backline. Finding a way to force the Armada to make mistakes in their own end will go a long way to securing a date with Orlando City in what would be United’s biggest match in competitive club history.
We at Magic City Soccer have looked at the rosters and the dynamics of these two clubs. These two clubs will face off again in just four days, where United will be short handed after receiving multiple red card’s in their previous league match. United will surely prioritize tonight’s cup match and look to continue punching above their weight class.
Omar: Jacksonville Armada 2 – 3 Miami United FC
Matt: Jacksonville Armada 1 – 2 Miami United FC
Drew: Jacksonville Armada 3 – 2 Miami United FC
Abel: Jacksonville Armada 1 – 3 Miami United FC
You can watch tonight’s game via the U.S. Open Cup Network. Click on this link in order to watch tonight’s live stream from Jacksonville.