Photo Credit: Mario T Photography
MIAMI, Fla. (May 31, 2017) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies were eliminated from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by Miami FC on Wednesday night, falling 2-0 at Riccardo Silva Stadium.
The scored remained 0-0 until the 74th minute when Enzo Rennella scored a penalty kick to put the hosts ahead 1-0. Jaime Chavez doubled Miami’s lead in the 84th minute.
“When we were 1-0 down with 15 minutes left, we really had to push and we got caught out for the second one,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “The first goal is the big one because, in all honestly, I don’t think either team looked like scoring in the second half. It was a very tight game.”
The first half featured just three shots on target, with the teams taking turns controlling possession and looking dangerous without actually creating much danger.
Tampa Bay started the match with a lot of energy, using a high press to create turnovers in Miami’s half of the field. In the 17th minute, one of those turnovers led to a Darwin Jones shot that missed just wide.
Miami had the better of things in the opening half, with midfielder Michael Lahoud forcing Tampa Bay goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald to make a beautiful diving save to his right-hand side in the 20th minute.
Just before halftime, Miami had another good moment, with Neill Collins heading a shot off the line and then Fitzgerald making a save on the follow-up to send the match into halftime still even at 0-0.
In the 57th minute, Miami coach Alessandro Nesta introduced Dylan Mares to the match, changing the tone completely and steering it in the direction of his team.
In the 73rd minute, Mares raced into the box ahead of Georgi Hristov and went down, with Miami being awarded a penalty kick by referee Andres Pfefferkorn.
Rennella slotted his penalty kick low to Fitzgerald’s right-hand side to give Miami a 1-0 lead. The goalkeeper guessed correctly, but couldn’t get to the ball.
“I thought the penalty was a tough call on us,” Campbell said. “I thought (Mares) was looking for it and the referee gave it.”
Chavez doubled the lead in the 84th minute, receiving a pass from Mares and putting a shot on target. Fitzgerald got a big touch to it, but the ball continued on its path and trickled over the line before Neill Collins could recover the space and clear it, putting Miami ahead 2-0 and eliminating the Rowdies.
Tampa Bay now returns its focus to the USL regular season, visiting the Charlotte Independence on Sunday afternoon. The Rowdies return home to host the Rochester Rhinos in their next home match on June 10. For tickets, call (727) 222-2000 or click here.
Miami FC: Enzo Rennella - 74th minute (penalty kick)
Miami FC: Jaime Chavez - 84th minute
Rowdies: Luke Boden - 33rd minute
Rowdies: Leo Fernandes - 45+ minute
Miami: Dylan Mares - 63rd minute
Rowdies: Georgi Hristov - 90th minute
Rowdies: Michael Nanchoff - 90+ minute
Rowdies XI (4-2-3-1): GK Akira Fitzgerald; D Darnell King, Damion Lowe, Neill Collins, Luke Boden; M Michael Nanchoff, Marcel Schäfer; M Darwin Jones (Deshorn Brown 68'), Joe Cole (c), Leo Fernandes (Martin Paterson 81'); F Georgi Hristov
Miami FC XI (4-4-2): GK Daniel Vega; D Jonny Borrajo (c), Hunter Freeman, Mason Trafford, Roberto Baggio Kcira; M Richie Ryan, Michael Lahoud, Calvin Rezende (Dylan Mares 57'), Kwadwo Poku; F Jaime Chavez, Enzo Rennella