The nation’s oldest soccer tournament has long been a historic tradition that has allowed some of the country’s smallest soccer clubs to square off against the heavyweights. The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup began in 1914, long before the official pyramid was even thought of. The inclusivity of the tournament allowed many proverbial “David v Goliath” matches to take place. With the expansion of the professional pyramid over the years, fewer amateur and semi-pro clubs have had the ability to compete. The 106th edition may be one of the worst for the non-professional sides.
It was a dominant performance for Florida Soccer Soldiers on Sunday night, as the team traveled to Delray Beach to dispatch Hurricane F.C. from 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualifying, 6-0.
Tropical Park was the scene for another exciting U.S. Open Cup qualifier with two local heavyweights going toe-to-toe for a chance to progress one step closer to the tournament proper. Florida Soccer Soldiers edged out 10-man Red Force FC 1-0 to reach the next round.
With the sad demise of FC Kendall it looks like Red Force have found a new rivalry already. These two teams have been playing some of the best local elite amateur soccer over the past year and a fair crowd of about 125 stayed out late on a Sunday evening to watch a compelling encounter.
With a steady wind whipping in from the north Red Force looked the more composed of the two sides early on. Florida Soccer Soldiers had quite a high defensive line and were almost undone by the diagonal ball over the top a couple of times. Danger man Stiven Salinas getting behind his marker and trying to create chances for his team mates. He and David Holguin combined to set up a chance for the latter but the big Colombian couldn’t get his effort on target.
What the Soccer Soldiers might lack in experience they made up for with youthful enthusiasm. Two players especially catching the eye were Manuel Coll and Valentin Sabella. Sabella, a 19 year old Argentinean, is as fast as lightning and good with the ball at his feet very reminiscent of his countrymen Messi, Maradona or Tevez. Short, quick and tricky. His powerful runs down the left flank were a constant threat to Red Force. Manuel Coll got in on the action with Soccer Soldiers’s best chance in the first 45. Sending an accurate shot on target from outside the box that was well-covered by Red Force keeper Anton Widen. Nil-nil at half time.
Although this match was played in the right spirit, there were flashpoints as the game wore on. A yellow card apiece for the two teams in the first 45 and five more in the second. There was a competitive physical element to the game and it boiled over on the hour when Fabio Fernandes was shown a straight red for a high elbow in a challenge with an opponent. The decision was controversial. It was certainly a foul and a card but perhaps a yellow would have sufficed in the context of the game.
The game-breaking goal
Down to ten men, it got worse for Red Force when the Soccer Soldiers finally made the difference count. With the defense stretched Manuel Coll found livewire Sabella in the box and he made no mistake from close range. It was a fine goal to cap off Sabella’s man of the match performance. It was almost 2-0 not long after that. Julian Hoyos Cadavid with an effort that Widen was equal to.
Into time added on, which there was a lot of because of a few injury breaks and the red card, and Red Force almost got back into it. First hitting the post with a looping effort and then a glorious change for midfielder Jesse Kehoe. Kehoe was through on a one-on-one with the keeeper but Estrada Soto was quick to react and snuff the chance out.
Time was up and the Soldiers march on to the third qualifying round. Red Force had won six Open Cup qualifying games in a row stretching back to September 23rd, 2017. That run came to an end. They’ll be looking for revenge next year when they head into the UPSL themselves.
Post match interview with man-of-the-match Valentin Sabella.
RED FORCE FC
Anton Widen (GK); Richard Perdomo, Lucas Compos Coro, Chris Munoz, Jesse Kehoe, Gilbert Ruiz, Steven Salinas, Fabio Fernandes, Cesar Murillo, David Holguin, Franco Alvaro. Subs; Daniel Gomez, Scott Gordon, Marcello Palucci, Omar Parsad
FLORIDA SOCCER SOLDIERS
Omar Estrada Soto (GK); Antonioni Gonzalez Gutierrez, Adolfo Suazo Williams, Valentin Sabella, Julian Hoyos Cadavid, Mario Ferro, Juan Carlos Paredes Rios, Manuel Coll, Andres Ruiz de Somocurcio, Carlos Meneses Freire, Cesar Moreno Ramos. Subs; Heatclif Castillo Delgado, Daniel Espantoso, Fernando Hernandez Aguirre
RED CARD ’60 Fabio Fernandes (Red Force)
GOAL ’73 Valentin Sabella, Assisted by Manuel Coll (Florida Soccer Soldiers)
MAN OF THE MATCH Valentin Sabella
Red Force advanced to the second qualifying round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup thanks to a last-gasp matchwinner from Marcello Palucci, a strike that gave his side victory over FC Kendall 2-1 after a good 90 minutes of soccer.
South Florida’s oldest running soccer rivalry will soon face off in US Soccer’s oldest tournament. The 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw for open division local qualifiers happened Wednesday morning and FC Kendall and Red Force FC were paired up for a Round 1 game in the Southeast Region on Sept. 23 at Tropical Park.
The Magic City has officially been booted from the 2018 U.S. Open Cup with Miami United’s loss to Orlando City last night at Ted Hendricks Stadium. Despite a strong run through the first four rounds of the tournament, the match was over before it started. Orlando City proved a point that they were taking this tournament seriously under third-year coach Jason Kreis.
Miami United FC earned a historic matchup when it defeated Jacksonville Armada FC in the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup: Orlando City SC is traveling to Hialeah tonight. You can check the Magic City Soccer pregame show here!
— Magic City Soccer (@MagicCitySoccer) June 6, 2018
The game will kick off at 7:30 pm from Ted Hendricks Stadium. If you can’t catch it live, you can watch it here!
For the third straight year the Open Cup symbolizes a battle between South and Central Florida. You already know that Miami United will host Orlando City tomorrow night. You already know that the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and The Miami FC have defeated the MLS foe in consecutive years. What you don’t already know is, Can Miami United make it three straight years of South Florida dominance?
The Magic City will get to see MLS competition for the second straight year courtesy of Miami United FC and their deep run into this year’s U.S. Open Cup tournament. In a first for the club, Miami United FC will host Major League Soccer side Orlando City SC in Round 4 of the U.S. Open Cup on June 5 or 6.
The fourth-round draw took place this morning and in a shocking turn of events, Orlando City opted out of a chance to host for the round. Orlando City has had poor attendance and even worse luck in this round of the tournament in previous years, especially when taking on an opponent from South Florida.
Miami United will look to be the newest addition to the club of lower division sides to knock off Orlando. In 2016, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers were able to get past Orlando in extra time with a game winning goal from Victor “PC” Giro (now on the OCSC roster). In 2017, now NPSL foe, Miami FC knocked out Orlando with a hat trick from Stefano Pinho (now also on the OCSC roster). Miami United has the right amount of firepower up front and tactical ability on defense to provide South Florida with another #cupset for the third consecutive year.
The match date has a placeholder for June 6th (subject to change) and it will take place at Milander Park in Hialeah. This will be City’s first visit to South Florida in the history of its existence in MLS. For years, the South Florida market has been ignored by City amidst the talks of a possible MLS Miami team coming in. Perhaps leaving the South Florida market untapped may come back to haunt Orlando as United look to pack the stadium in a true showing of Miami soccer pride.
Matthew Bunch contributed to this report.
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.