Courtesy Magic City Soccer
It didn’t start exactly how the team imagined, but the end result was sweet nonetheless. Miami United FC overcame an early deficit to storm back and defeat FC Kendall, 5-2. Miami United will advance to the Second Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup to face The Miami FC 2.
The man of the match was clearly David Ochoa, who scored three goals, including a world-class free kick from more than 30 yards away that settled in the top-left corner of the net to beat FC Kendall goalkeeper Ronald Garces.
Ochoa amassed the highest goal total, but it was FC Kendall which struck first. After a strong stretch of play by Miami United, Kendall were able to counter and Andres Navas had a shot on goal in the 10th minute, which was deflected away. On the subsequent corner kick, Daniel Gonzalez was able to swing a ball near post that Alessandro Mion redirected past Bryan Martin.
It’s not what Miami United would have asked for, but it was apparently the punch in the face the team needed.
Miami United were able to equalize in the 17th minute, when Mion caught the leg of Tomas Granitto inside the box. Granitto took the penalty kick himself and equalized the match.
Momentum really seemed to shift in the 24th minute, when Nicolas Gorobsov took a ball from Nicolas Micoli just outside the 18-yard box and finished beautifully top-right corner to give Miami United its first lead of the night.
But it was the moment in the 32nd minute that was sublime. Miami United earned a free kick and Ochoa, seemingly determined to find a way to best his teammate Gorobsov, absolutely hit an inch-perfect kick to put Miami United up and above FC Kendall for good.
Ochoa would score twice more, once off a well-played through ball and a precise finish close to goal, and the third off a strange clearance that came straight to his foot while he was on the ground in the box.
In reality, despite the scoreline, Garces may have been Kendall’s man of the match. After the opening goal, Miami United had nearly all of the offensive action, save for a penalty kick earned by Gonzalez and converted by Santiago Schmid in the closing seconds.
The second-round opponent for Miami United will be The Miami FC 2, cross-town rival and conference foe who defeated Red Force FC 4-0 to advance. The two teams have played twice already this year, with both games ending in 1-1 draws. Thanks to the format of the Open Cup, we know that’s not a possibility, and the Magic City Clásico trophy will be handed out along with a ticket to the third round and a possible date with a United Soccer League opponent.