Miami Sports Day

Miami FC Dashes Rowdies Open Cup Hopes, Advances to 4th Round

Photo by Miami FC

MIAMI – The Miami FC hosted the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night, beating their in-state foes 2-0 and advancing to the fourth round of the tournament. Forwards Vincenzo Rennella and Jaime Chávez scored the two goals.

“It is not easy to play three matches in one week, but I am very happy with the results,” said Head Coach Alessandro Nesta. “We are in first place in the league and now advance in the U.S. Open Cup to face Orlando City.”

Miami threatened early with a lovely bit of interplay between Robert Baggio Kcira, Calvin Rezende, Kwadwo Poku and Chávez that ended with penalty shouts as Poku was tackled inside the box, but Tampa Bay was able to clear the threat.

Tampa Bay had a chance to go ahead in the 15th minute, but Kcira used his entire defensive arsenal to force the Rowdies away from the front of goal and into a weak cross that Daniel Vega handled.

Rezende started up a promising attack in the 20th minute, taking on two defenders and passing a clever ball across the top of the box. Poku dummied the pass and allowed Michael Lahoud to strike a curling left-footed shot that was barely pushed out of bounds by Tampa Bay goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald.

Poku made several dangerous runs through the Rowdies’ midfield, coming close to finishing off some of those plays with a goal, but the final touch just wasn’t there in the first half.

His play was almost rewarded when he found himself with a loose ball near the top of the box in the 42nd minute.

He gathered and unleashed a powerful shot towards the bottom left corner of the goal. Unfortunately, Fitzgerald once again made an astounding save to keep the match tied.

The match went into halftime locked at 0-0, but Miami was clearly the dominant team.

Miami would carry its dominance from the first half over to the second, creating chances at a frequent pace.

Lahoud’s left foot would flash again in the 49th minute, when he received a ball from Rezende with space to work and fired towards goal with his off-foot, only to be denied again by Fitzgerald.

In the 58th minute, Miami would set up another good chance by way of some solid passing, leaving Poku with the ball in the center of the box. Poku couldn’t get a clean shot off though, and didn’t hit the intended target.

In the 73rd minute, Miami’s constant offensive pressure would pay dividends. Dylan Mares, who came on as a substitute, found himself through on goal, but was brought down in the box for a penalty kick. Rennella stepped up to the spot and confidently put away his penalty shot into the bottom corner and past Fitzgerald to give Miami a 1-0 lead.

Mares would continue to make his presence known in the 83rd minute, cruising past the Tampa Bay back line with the ball and cutting it back to Jaime Chávez, who snuck the ball under Fitzgerald and into the goal to make it 2-0.
Miami would see the game out comfortably and finish with a resounding 2-0 victory.

The Miami FC now travels to Northeast Florida to take on Jacksonville Armada FC on Saturday, June 3 for an NASL league match.

The Orange and Blue will continue its U.S. Open Cup campaign on the road on against Orlando City SC, date and time yet to be determined. That match will be the first time Miami faces an MLS team.

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