Let’s all flashback to last year together when some guy (me) had this to say about the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match against the Wilmington Hammerheads: “We got this.” Fast forward to four minutes into the match when Miami FC was ambushed with two quick goals to start the match and I had the egg on my face: “Fuck!”

Yep, yep, yep. I’m here to tell you that guy is a fucking idiot. I’m also here to tell you I fell into the same trap this year.

Miami began their U.S. Open Cup bid by taking on The South Florida Surf, a team in the Premier Developmental League from just a bit up north. The match took place at the University of Miami’s Cobb Stadium where the local club was set to host the second round of the cup. A little PTSD, Jeff Michaud was one of the goal scorers in last year’s game for the Hammerheads that knocked Miami out of the cup. Much like last year, I would once again learn that these opponents are just not to be underestimated.

Yann Mvita of the South Florida Surf.

I swear if I have to type this next sentence one more goddamn time… So, Miami dominated in this one. Queue the eye-roll. I know, I know, but what would you like me to say? It’s the truth. Miami held ball possession, took shots on goal, and, for the most part, defended well. Yet this match was nowhere near decided until the final whistle blew. But holy shit, all the shenanigans that ensued.

I suppose I could talk some more about ball possession and goal scoring opportunities, but none of that shit mattered in the 20th minute when Darwin Espinal found the net for the Surf on one of their limited opportunities. That bitter taste – you know, the one when your team is losing to amateurs (kind of like urine) – carried through halftime and into the second half. Luckily, Poku would quickly put us out of our misery following the break. In the 48th, he netted the equalizer and we were back in business. Dylan Mares was not about this tie life and broke that shit up in the 60th. Well, more like he had the Surf do it for him. An own goal gave Miami the lead until they surrendered it again. Mario Daniel Vega did not have his best game watching the goal for Miami, and got 5-holed hard in the 74th by a familiar foe, Michaud. Super frustrating! Jaime Chavez said “enough of this”, maybe. Game-winner in the 79th minute would prove decisive for the home team. I do have to say, however, the GK for the Surf (Andres Ruiz) was good and feisty in this one. Homeboy was impressive as the net-minder and hesitated not one bit towards the end of the match when a scuffle ensued.

The Miami FC game-winning goal scorer, Jaime Chavez.

T’was not an easy outcome and it certainly wasn’t secure, but Miami FC moves on to host the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Until then, the NASL awaits.

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Enrique Sierra
Enrique Sierra, Jr. is a writer, editor, and podcast co-host for Lemon City Live. A Miami, Florida sports fanatic just trying to live the dream.

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