Miami United FC reached a height the club has never known before Wednesday night. And perhaps the most shocking thing about it was how easy it came.
Miami United scored two world-class goals, and Jacksonville Armada never mounted a serious challenge, as United qualified for Round 4 of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Miami United will next face a team from Major League Soccer.
Unlike its game against The Miami FC 2 in Round 2, Miami United dominated the game from the jump against Jacksonville. Despite the exclusion of midfielder Gabrielle Privitera — a key figure in the team’s success so far this season — from the squad sheet, the Miami United attack did not miss a beat. In the 21st minute, Tomás Granitto took an open opportunity in front of net, but outside the 18-yard box, and hit a shot full of power and pace. Armada goalkeeper Brian Holt had no chance to make the save.
Five minutes later, midfielder Nicolas Gorobsov got in on the fun. After a Jacksonville foul, Gorobsov lined up a free kick and set a ball into the box looking for a head or foot to make contact with. The problem for Jacksonville is that in wound up making no contact with anything besides the back of the net. The service squeaked through the Armada back line and would up giving Miami an advantage it wouldn’t even need.
Jacksonville Armada had opportunities. The post was hit more than once. But with the Gorobsov goal, it seemed the Armada would need a bit of magic to get back in the game. The magic never came, and now it is two former NASL sides eliminated by Miami United.
The scenes at the final whistle showed how important the win was to the players and coaches of Miami United.
The next matchup will be the big prize for the club. A Major League Soccer franchise will either host or travel to Miami. No matter the result, it is still a massive achievement for a team that never made it out of the second round of the U.S. Open Cup before this year.
The draw for hosting and opposition in Round 4 of the U.S. Open Cup will take place Thursday, May 24 at 11 a.m.