It took 10 rounds of penalty kicks, but eventually Jacksonville Armada FC U-23s put away Miami United FC in the First Round of the 2023 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Jacksonville won the shootout 9-8 after a 1-1 draw on Thursday night.
Mikah Thomas scored the Armada’s lone goal in the 42nd minute of play after it looked like neither team would find a breakthrough before the interval. A quick bit of build-up play by the hosts on the counter eventually saw Thomas collect a square ball in the middle of the box from Charles Elondou. Though Thomas’s initial effort was parried by the MUFC keeper, the Armada’s No. 3 was able to put the rebound away.
Halftime proved to be what Miami needed to regroup, as the visitors quickly leveled the score in the 48th minute thanks to Bautista Pablo Dominguez. Shamar Shelton whipped in a corner kick that found Dominguez’s head off a short run. Jacksonville had an opportunity to regain the advantage almost immediately from the restart, but the effort was found wanting.
A second yellow card to Thomas in the 83rd minute led the Armada to play down a man in extra time. However, a dogged defensive effort held MUFC at bay through the additional 30 minutes of play to keep the score even at 1-1.
With neither side claiming a pivotal second goal through extra time, the match was determined at the spot. Both teams converted their first seven chances. Miami had an opportunity to claim advancement in the eighth round of kicks after Jacksonville failed to convert, but Miami squandered the chance.
A keeper showdown ended up deciding the match, as the Armada’s Nicklaus Rulle converted against Miami’s Occenat Peterson in the 10th round of kicks before turning around and saving Peterson’s subsequent attempt.
Jacksonville moves to 2-3-1 all-time in Open Cup play, and have advanced to the Second Round for the first time since 2017. They will move on to face USL Championship side Miami FC at the FIU Soccer Stadium on Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. Eastern.