Recap: The Miami FC Falls Short in U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal

Aug 2, 2017

MIAMI (August 2, 2017) - The Miami FC took on FC Cincinnati in a U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals match on Wednesday night in front of a franchise-record crowd of 10,415. Miami stuck in it until the final whistle blew, but it was narrowly defeated 1-0. 

"We are happy that we made it this far in this tournament," said Head Coach Alessandro Nesta. "We beat Atlanta and Orlando to get here which is a great accomplishment and something we can build on."

The Orange and Blue started the match in Cincy territory, pressing high up the pitch and threatening with clever offensive movements. 

Though Miami started out with much of the ball, Cincinnati insisted on trying to open up Miami's defense with long diagonal passes and flick-ons from their forwards. Cincy connected on a few, but Miami did well to deal with offensive attacks resulting from those passes.

Midway through the first half, Cincinnati began to change the tempo of the match, pressuring up high in Miami territory and swinging in some dangerous crosses.

As Miami settled into the match and the first half rolled on, Orange and Blue players began to get more comfortable on the ball and in defense. 

Miami FC and FC Cincinnati took a tightly contested match 0-0 into halftime. 

In the 53rd minute, a pinpoint Blake Smith cross from the left wing just sailed slightly above Stéfano Pinho's head in the box. As Cincinnati defender Harrison Delbridge attempted to clear the ball past his own end line, he miss hit his clearance and it nearly landed in his own net.

Miami midfielder Dylan Mares was a one-man spark plug to start the second half, applying front-field pressure, contesting every Cincy pass and putting the opposing team's back line under duress.

The Orange and Blue was rejuvenated on the back of Mares' energy, driving forward and forcing a bevy of corner kicks that nearly got the team the lead.

But in the 68th minute, against the run of play, FC Cincinnati turned a loose ball in the box into a Djiby Fall goal to give the visiting team a 1-0 lead. 

Miami retaliated quickly and came inches from equalizing on a Hunter Freeman free kick that found a recently substituted-in Michel at the back post. The ball was snatched off the goal line by Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt with shirts all around him.

With a semifinals spot on the line, Miami poured numbers forward as they searched for an equalizing goal to push the match into extra time. 

Miami nearly pulled off the miraculous several times, particularly in the 88th minute.

Kwadwo Poku embarked on a solo run through Cincy's backline and got a shot off in the box, only to be denied by Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt. The rebound ricocheted high into Vincenzo Rennella's path, but the forward couldn't contort his body to get his head on the ball and it went wide.

In the end, a hard-fought battle ended Miami FC's deep U.S. Open Cup run, but the club showed off its immense talent and will be favorites going into next year's tournament. 

"You learn a lot about yourself," said Miami FC midfielder Michael Lahoud. "Take nothing away from my guys and my teammates. We had one hell of a cup run."

The Miami FC stays at home for its next two matches, taking on North Carolina FC on Saturday, August 5 and Indy Eleven on Saturday, August 12. For tickets, visit MiamiFC.com/Tickets.

Quick Hits

Starting XI
GK - Vega
DEF - Smith, Trafford, Bernstein, Freeman
MID - Mares (72' - Martínez), Poku, Ryan, Lahoud (76' - Michel)
FWD - Rennella, Pinho

Goals
68' - Djiby Fall (CIN) | Assisted by Justin Hoyte

Bookings
18' - Walker (CIN) | Yellow
49' - Schindler (CIN) | Yellow

Stats
Possession: 57.5%
Shots: 12
Passes: 511
Pass Accuracy: 86.3%
Clearances: 21
Tackles: 10