Two Miami-based clubs went at it in the second round of qualifying for the 105th edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Red Force FC and Miami Nacional SC faced off at Ives Estates Park on Sunday afternoon with the goal of advancing to the next round of qualifying. While players from both squads showed up, it was evident only one turned up to play.
Red Force FC of the American Soccer League is no stranger to the US Open Cup. They’ve made noise in years past and qualified for the first round of the 2017 cup. Despite being ousted by South Florida Surf, the boys in Red managed to earn a qualifying position for a 2018 cup run. As soon as the whistle blew, it was all Red Force on the scoreboard.
After an early scoring chance from Miami in the opening few minutes of the game, Red Force FC opened the scoring in the 15th minute as former Florida International Panther Mathew Treumun put one in the back of the net off a beautiful feed from Gilbert Ruiz.
After that, the crowd was welcomed to the Scott Gordon show. Gordon became a thorn in the side of Nacional as he collected a hat trick in the span of 14 minutes. Finishing up passes from Christopher Munoz, Stiven Salinas, and Daniel Gomez, the former Fort Lauderdale Striker ran Nacional off the field; literally.
Yes they did. This should be looked at by the tournament. They can’t allow teams to just quit.
— Red Force FC (@RedForceFC09) October 22, 2017
Red Force FC was awarded a penalty in the 40th minute of the match that was protested by Nacional. Their head coach David Garcia walked onto the field to argue the call with the referee and refused to leave. In the end, he ordered his team to walk off the pitch and they would not return for the match. The game would officially be called in the 44th minute. In a comment from Red Force’s Twitter account, they replied to the forfeit update posted by TheCup.us by saying “This should be looked at by the tournament. They can’t allow teams to just quit.”
According to Miami’s team president Gaston Basulto, a series of bad calls by the referee led to his head coach’s on-field protest. Among his complaints about physical play, he claims that Red Force had as many as six offside plays that were not called in the opening 40 minutes. Those plays led to a pair of Red Force goals and the controversial penalty kick call that ultimately brought the game to it’s untimely end.
“When your has two goals that were clearly offside, one penalty in your favor not called, one elbow hit to the face of one of your defenders 20 feet from where the referee was standing that ends in a penalty , something is really wrong,” said Basulto. “That’s why my coach told me ‘we cannot continue with this circus’, and we walked off.”
This is the first time that since the Vega said regardless of how the game is going, or how well you believe the officiating is, you should finish the game.
“The situation with Miami Nacional was an embarrassment for the cup,” said Red Force owner/head coach Gabriel Vega. “I talked to the owner and he told me that they were abandon the game because the refs were against them … made a decision and I hope he will pay the consequences for the future of the Open Cup.”
The US Soccer Federation is currently reviewing the incident and will make a ruling at a later date.