Effective Orlando Ends Miami United’s Unprecedented Run
There was an air throughout South Florida’s soccer scene that gave Miami United’s run into the fourth round of the US Open Cup. Miami United looked poised early on to extend what was already the greatest performance for an NPSL team ever in this tournament. Unfortunately, it was Orlando City that ended a four-match winning streak as the Lions defeated Miami United 3-0 in front of nearly 2,600 fans at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah. Stefano Pinho, Dillon Powers, and PC were the three goalscorers for Jason Kreis’ men.
One of the keys to the match for Miami United was to not be nervous. In the early stages, there were some mistakes that were made but Orlando’s imprecisions in creating that final touch a constructive one. In the second minute, a poor pass out of the back allowed Sacha Kljestan to have a chance in front of goal, but he missed.
“We had some bad luck. But in the end Orlando City’s superiority was demonstrated,” said Miami United coach Gerardo Reinoso.
As the early stages of the first half progressed, Miami United were finding the spaces out wide to come cause some problems in front of goal for goalkeeper Earl Edwards, Jr. One sequence almost had Gerardo Reinoso’s side to take the lead but after a series of bounces, David Ochoa was denied a goalscoring opportunity.
Orlando midfielder Sacha Kljestan was brilliant on the evening. His ability to patrol the middle of the pitch and distribute the ball to the attackers up top helped Orlando City gain an upper hand that made it difficult to revert the run of play. Klejstan was a major contributor for the first goal in the 37th minute. While transporting the ball, Orlando set up a good series of passes that found RJ Allen, who they found Pinho to open the scoring. Kljestan also assisted on Orlando’s two other goals as his passes would find both Dillon Powers and PC in the second half.
“We knew coming into this match that despite this team being in the fourth division, they were going to be very tough,” said PC after the match. I know how they feel having been in that situation just a few short years ago.
Klejstan found the ball, drew in the defenders and found a wide open PC on the opposite side of for the six-yard box to ice the game for the visitors. He was also instrumental in transporting the ball and associating with both PC in the middle and Allen who also had an impressive performance on the evening.
Miami United showed poise and composure but were unable to create shots on goal. Their biggest problem was their inability to have a player that could distribute in the midfield, especially in the second half.
“I am extremely proud of my team. They left it all out there on the pitch,” said Miami United coach Gerardo Reinoso. “I can’t be sad, we played against a great team. They were able to show the difference in (divisions) and the quality was quite evident.”
Miami United lost a great deal of their momentum when playmaker David Ochoa had to be replaced in the latter stages of the first half. This was one of the important breaking points for Miami United as they lost one of their key offensive components. Ochoa found his leg caught in the turf and despite an effort to continue playing, the injury was just too significant. At that point, Miami United lost a great deal of their offensive direction, thus putting Orlando City in a good situation in the second half.
The win for Orlando will now look to face Atlanta United in the next round but will now embark on an 8,000-mile journey that will see them make stops in Vancouver and Montreal before returning home.
Miami United will now focus on the final stretch of the NPSL season as they fight for the top spot in their conference when they host Boca Raton on Saturday.
Contributor: Juan Arango/NPSL.com
Photo Credit: Juan Arango/NPSL.com and NPSL.com