While uniforms are largely the same, the name of the team is slightly different, and it is technically a new franchise but Miami FC 2 of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) continued its senior team’s form in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. With nearly half of the roster from last year’s Miami FC NASL team that reached the Quarterfinals, “2” cruised to a 3-1 win over FC Miami City in the Preliminary Round on Sunday night.
Don Smart, Dario Suarez and Jeff Michaud all scored for Miami FC 2 as the club advances to the First Round where they will face another Miami-based amateur team Red Force FC on Wednesday, May 9 at the FIU Stadium.
The 105th edition of the US Open Cup began at Tropical Park Stadium in Miami, on a field that is normally reserved for high school competitions and high level amateur fixtures. In a setting unknown to the Miami FC organization, FC Miami City found comfort on their home pitch. Perhaps just a bit too much comfort.
Miami FC relished every opportunity as the play-in competitor in a tournament they almost did not get a chance to compete in. Miami took full advantage of an early defensive collapse by City when a cross found Kris Tyrpak on the back post, who slotted it past City keeper Hugo Fauroux. The assistant referee would save City and Fauroux early on by judging Tyrpak offside and the game would remain scoreless.
In the 11th minute, Tyler Polak, one of the 19 players on the Miami FC roster who came into the game with Open Cup experience, found Tyrpak with a ball down the left flank. Tyrpak was quick to locate Don Smart hanging on the opposite end of the technical area and placed a cross across the mouth of goal. With a diving effort Smart beat Fauroux and put Miami ahead officially this time.
Over the next 10 minutes of play Miami would continue to be the aggressor, pinning City into their own half. With one of the few attacking efforts City would have, a ball down their own left flank would force Tyler Ruthven into a hard challenge to disrupt possession. The referee would find the tackle a touch dangerous and disciplined Ruthven with the first yellow card of the match.
In the 30th minute, City would suffer a huge blow to their defensive forces. 2018 PDL player to watch, Kevin Coiffic, would suffer an injury and be replaced by Dylan Hauss. Hauss would find himself tested early and often after coming onto the pitch, passing each test Miami threw in front of him.
Moments before the end of the first half, Miami effectively disrupted a City counter attack. As the ball was worked back to Dylan Mares, a potential horror would ensue. City’s Ethan Sonis would come in from behind with studs up plowing through Mares. Mares collapsed clutching his left knee leaving the Miami FC faithful holding their breath hoping that the dynamic midfielder could continue. The referee showed leniency against Sonis issuing only a yellow card despite calls for a straight red.
At the start of the second half, Vincenzo Rennella would be subbed off for newly-signed Dario Suarez. The former AFC Ann Arbor striker wasted no time getting involved with the attack, releasing Tyrpak for a strike that would be saved by Fauroux. City would find the strength to head the other way off the back of Fauroux’s save and earn a corner in the 55th minute. The low-driven corner would pinball around the Miami technical area before landing at the feet of City’s Deshawon Nembhard. Nembhard wasted no time smashing it low and in the corner, out of the reach of Miami FC goalkeeper Mario Daniel Vega, to bring the game level at one.
Unimpressed, Miami would rush to take the kickoff and pounce down the field. Keeping City penned into their own technical area, Miami would find Tyrpak down the left hand side again. His cross would be cleared out of the box but only as far as Suarez. Suarez wasted no time opening his Miami FC account and blasted a shot into the upper 90 bringing Miami back into the lead.
Despite City’s best efforts to bring the game level again, all their attacks would end comfortably in the hands of Vega or off target. Miami would find themselves getting the best chances in the remainder of the night as Suarez missed a pair of sitters (one catching the outside of the post). Ariel Martinez and Kris Tyrpak would find their nights cut short as Sean McFarlane and Aly Hassan would get some playing time.
After the Tyrpak substitution, Miami would collect their final goal of the night. A throw-in would begin a pinball of sorts between Polak, Suarez, and Jeff Michaud. Michaud would make a cut on the outside of the technical area to open up space for his right foot. His curler would leave Fauroux frozen and ice the game for Miami FC. Michaud’s goal was his sixth career tournament goal as he has notched at least one goal in each of the last three years.
The win comes as a sigh of relief for Miami FC as their first three NPSL matches all ended in 1-1 draws. The final 30 minutes really proved to be the deciding factor as the City stamina began to wither. The early rounds of the tournament are always a challenge for PDL teams since the overwhelming majority of teams depend on college players, who, in most cases, aren’t finished with classes until the first week of May.
FULL MATCH REPLAY