Miami Sports Day

Miami FC Defeats Atlanta United 3-2, Advances to U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals

MIAMI – The Miami FC hosted Atlanta United FC on Wednesday night, beating their MLS opponents 3-2 on a last-minute goal. Miami will now host a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals against FC Cincinnati, Wednesday, July 12.

“This was a very important match for everyone,” said Head Coach Alessandro Nesta. “This is a dream for us, but dreams are earned and we will see where we can take this.”

Atlanta’s high pressure in Miami’s third of the field frustrated what is usually a ball-dominant Orange and Blue.

Atlanta would claim the first two shots of the match in the fifth and seventh minutes, but Miami goalkeeper Daniel Vega came up with two stonewalling saves to keep them off the scoresheet.

Miami quickly countered with two stinging shots of their own, both from midfielder Michael Lahoud.

Miami would continue to attack Atlanta’s defense, forcing Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kann into an outstanding save after midfielder Dylan Mares blasted a long-range effort at goal in the 29th minute.

Atlanta would win a set piece that led to the first goal of the match. Kevin Kratz served in a pinpoint free kick that was met by Brandon Vázquez and steered in with his head to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.

The Orange and Blue didn’t fret, answering Atlanta’s goal with a counter-attack in the 37th minute to deadlock the match.

Midfielder Kwadwo Poku won back possession with a forceful tackle in midfield, sprung forward past multiple Atlanta defenders and caressed a pass to forward Stéfano Pinho on his left.

Pinho slowed down the pass inside the box with his left foot, cut back to get the ball on his preferred right foot and curled a sublime shot past Kann and into the net.

Miami FC and Atlanta United FC went into halftime tied 1-1.

Miami fired the opening salvo of the second half, taking a 2-1 lead in the 52nd minute.

Mares drew a foul on the left wing, leading to a Hunter Freeman free kick opportunity. Freeman dropped in a dime of a cross inside of the six-yard box, where Rhett Bernstein cleverly flicked the ball with his head and into the back of the net.

The Orange and Blue would continue pouring on the pressure and flashing their impeccable skill, with some flair.

Atlanta would luck into some good fortune in the 74th minute, as Andrew Carleton drew a penalty in the box. Julian Gressel stepped up and buried his penalty kick just under Vega to tie the match at 2-2.

With the quarterfinals on the line and extra time on the horizon, Miami would punch its ticket with the final touch of the match.

In the midst of a last-ditch fast break, Rennella freed up Poku who found acres of open space in Atlanta’s final third. Poku dribbled the ball into the box and released a shot that slid into the net to give Miami a 3-2 lead.

The match ended shortly after and Miami is set to host a quarterfinals matchup against FC Cincinnati on July 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Riccardo Silva Stadium.

The Miami FC returns to NASL action on the road against North Carolina FC for an Independence Day showdown on July 4. The Orange and Blue then hosts the San Francisco Deltas on Saturday, July 8.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *