Miami FC advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open Cup with a 3-2 victory Wednesday night over the South Florida Surf in a game that was closer than most fans anticipated.
There were two ties and two lead changes between Miami FC, the first-place team in the North American Soccer League, and the Surf, a Port St. Lucie team which plays in the lower-tier Premier Development League. The match was played at Cobb Stadium on the University of Miami campus.
The Surf took a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute on a goal by Honduras U20 player Darwin Espinal, and Miami FC trailed at the half. Miami coach Alessandro Nesta subbed in midfielders Dylan Mares and Richie Ryan, and the team scored three minutes after the break when Kwadwo Poku headed in the tying goal off a Blake Smith cross.
Miami went ahead 12 minutes later on a Mares cross that ended in an own goal. South Florida tied it again in the 74th minute on a goal by Jeff Michaud, but Miami got the game-winner five minutes later on a header by Jaime Chavez.
Miami will face the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a third-round U.S. Open Cup match May 31 at FIU’s Riccardo Silva Stadium. The winner of that game plays Orlando City of Major League Soccer in the fourth round.
In the other U.S. Open Cup game involving a local team, Miami United of the NPSL lost 2-1 to NASL team Jacksonville Armada. Miami took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Jacopo Capilli, assisted by Ezequiel Tejera. But Jacksonville tied it four minutes later and wound up with the win.