Miami FC Moves On To Round Of 16

The club will now host Atlanta United of MLS
NASL Staff (@naslofficial} | Jun 15, 2017

In arguably the club’s best performance under head coach Alessandro Nesta, Miami FC thrashed host Orlando City SC, 3-1, in the fourth round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Orlando City Stadium on Wednesday night.

Brazilian forward Stéfano Pinho scored a hat trick for Miami, notching three goals in the opening 55 minutes before the MLS side pulled one back late in the second half. It was a dream performance for the former NASL Golden Boot winner, who was able to line up against – and ultimately exchange jerseys with – his fellow countryman, Brazilian legend Kaká.

Miami, which will play host to another MLS side, Atlanta United FC, in the Round of 16, controlled much of the game against Orlando City. The Orange and Blue outshot the Lions, 17-9, and won 63 percent of the duels in the 3-1 victory.

Should Miami pass a stiff test against visiting Atlanta at Riccardo Silva Stadium on June 27 or 28 (TBD), Nesta’s side will host a quarterfinal game against the winner of the FC Cincinnati-Chicago Fire matchup.

The club remains in scintillating form going into its NASL Week 13 clash with second-place Jacksonville Armada FC. Miami hasn’t lost in any competition since April 8, and a win at home on Saturday against Jacksonville would put them a minimum of seven points ahead in the Spring Season title race with just four games to play.

Two other NASL clubs were in action in the Cup last night, but fell despite valiant efforts. North Carolina FC equalized midway through the second half against the Houston Dynamo of MLS to force extra time at Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary, N.C. A strike from the Dynamo’s Memo Rodriguez in the 109th minute would prove to be the winner, though. Defender Steven Miller and midfielder Lance Laing found the back of the net for North Carolina in the 3-2 loss.

At Avaya Stadium, the San Francisco Deltas took part in a Bay Area clash against the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS. Some early nerves got the best of the visiting Deltas, as the Earthquakes scored twice in the opening six minutes through Jackson Yueill and Cordell Cato. For the remainder of the game, however, San Francisco looked strong. The Deltas outshot San Jose, 18-9, in the 2-0 loss and came close to scoring on several occasions throughout the game.

All eyes are on Miami now, as the current league leaders are the only NASL side still in the Cup. Nesta’s side is looking to become the fifth NASL Modern Era side to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament, and should they continue their run past that point, they would be the farthest-advancing NASL side in the league’s Modern Era (since 2011). 

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