The Jacksonville Armada FC struck twice late in the first half to erase an early deficit and defeat Miami United FC in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup 2-1 Wednesday night.
The first half started slow both teams were trying to figure each other out. Early in the first half Jacksonville tried to get comfortable with the turf. Many plays in the first 45 minutes ended with an Armada player slipping on the turf.
After being unable to capitalize on numerous chances throughout the first half and having an 8-0 edge in corners in the first half, the NASL’s Armada FC scored twice in a seven-minute span after Jacopo Camilli scored off a beautiful pass from Ezequiel Tejera in the 32nd minute for Miami United of the NPSL.
Three minutes after falling behind, Armanda FC leveled on a goal by veteran Aaron Pitchkolan after a Jake Black corner. A controversial penalty was awarded three minutes before halftime following a slide tackle in the box. Miami goalkeeper Carlos Alcantara dived to the right, but Blake finished for what proved to the eventual game-winner.
Miami United countered quickly with a great chance in stoppage time as Tejera booted a ball from beyond the 18-yard box, but the ball bounced off the right bar inches away from an equalizing goal.
Jacksonville goalkeeper Kyle Nasta, who had to wear a baseball cap in the first half due to the intense sunlight on his side of the pitch, made a pair of saves.
In the second half, Miami moved David SantaMaria to the middle of the field. Needing an equalizer, they also played more up-tempo in the second half, but both teams squandered opportunities after halftime.
The match was heated late with three of the nine bookings coming in second-half stoppage time. Miami United had one last chance late, but their possession ended with the offside flag raised.
Jacksonville Armada will move onto the third round of the US Open Cup, and will face Charleston Battery. Charleston beat the Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1 earlier on Wednesday.