Only two non-Major League Soccer teams are still alive in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16, and one of them is the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
The Strikers, who play in the second-tier NASL, upset MLS team D.C. United 4-3 in penalty kicks Wednesday night after 120 scoreless minutes. Matheus Carvalho made the winning PK, and goalkeeper Diego Restrepo made 10 saves, including one in the penalty kick shootout.
Fort Lauderdale’s next match is June 29 against Orlando City SC at Camping World Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
It is the first time Fort Lauderdale advanced past the fourth round in the all-comers tournament. The other NASL team still standing is the New York Cosmos.
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D.C. was missing several key players Wednesday due to international duties and injuries. Only three regulars started. The Strikers took advantage and dominated the match, holding D.C. to just one shot in the first half.
“It is an unbelievable achievement and a well-deserved win,” said Strikers coach Caio Zanardi. “We showed that we should not be underestimated. I’m so proud of what our players and staff have accomplished. They played with their hearts on their sleeves. It (was) a great mood in the locker room, but it’s a long season and this is just one step. We need to keep progressing with hard work.”