By Kartik Krishnaiyer/NPSL.com
Miami United FC began its 2022 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup campaign with a 3-1 First Round home victory over local South Florida rivals, City Soccer. A brace from Lucas Espindola paced Miami United who advanced to the next round of the competition. Espindola’s first strike of the night, an 83rd minute goal proved the winner, capping a frenzied period in the match when three goals were recorded in four minutes.
Miami United, who made the deepest U.S. Open Cup run for an NPSL side in the 2018 edition of this competition, is looking to once again make its mark in the U.S. Open Cup. In that year’s edition of the competition, Miami United defeated two professional sides, Miami FC and Jacksonville Armada, before falling to Orlando City SC of MLS.
The first twenty minutes of tonight’s match yielded few opportunities for either side. The best chance in the initial period of the match was a sixth minute free kick attempt by Miami United’s Robertino Insua which was cleared by City Soccer’s wall. But after the cagey start, the match began to open up and both sides were able to create opportunities.
In the 31st minute, a mazy run with the ball in the area by Miami United’s Ignacio Cubeddu was eventually cleared. In the 40th minute Miami United had back-to-back corners that was followed up by a City Soccer opportunity on the counter that Bryant Gameiro saved comfortably. In first half stoppage time, Bautista Dominguez put a free kick on target which was saved by City Soccer keeper Fernando Cortes.
In the second half, opportunities for both sides were sparse until a frantic four minute period between the 79th and 83rd minutes, when Miami United struck twice and City Soccer scored once. Miami United struck first with a curling free kick from Robertino Insua that beat Cortes at the near post.
However, right from the restart, City Soccer struck back, when Oscar Escobar Reyes finished a chance that fell to him in the area. However, the frenzy of goals continued in the 83rd minute when Espindola beat Cortes.
Espindola remarked after the match that while chemistry is an issue since the NPSL campaign has not begun yet for Miami United, the players still clicked when needed in the second half. “The chemistry is good but will be improved on but that comes with playing time, which we will develop,” Espindola said.
City Soccer pushed men forward after the second Miami United goal, leaving plenty of space for United to exploit on the counter.
Miami United capped the scoring in second half stoppage time when Espindola beat Cortes from the spot after United was awarded a penalty. That capped the evening with Miami United running out 3-1 winners.
With this victory, Miami United will face Miami FC, currently competing in the USL Championship in the next round of the U.S. Open Cup.
“We know Miami FC presents a serious hurdle as they already started their USL season, but we have two weeks to develop better chemistry before that match,” Espindola said.