The Strikers struck late. Extra time late.
After 120 minutes of action, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers eliminated Orlando City in the Round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup after PC’s goal in the dying moments of extra time lifted the visitors to a 2-1 victory Wednesday night at Camping World Stadium.
“We’re all frustrated that we haven’t progressed,” said Orlando City coach Adrian Heath. “We can play better, and we had our opportunities, and we should of won the game. Thought we had enough chances to win the game, bottom line. We haven’t done that, and we got sucker-punched late on.”
Both teams went down to 10 plater after the 67th minute mark after a brief brawl erupted between players, which saw Kevin Molino and Maicon Santos ejected from their respective teams.
Jose Angulo gave the Strikers the early lead in the 12th minute after striking from close range past Earl Edwards Jr. Molino leveled the score three minutes later after making a run past the Fort Lauderdale backline to slot the ball into the net.
3,162 was the announced attendance, and it was the first time the Lions fell at home since July 19, 2015 during MLS play against the New York Red Bulls.
On paper, the Lions dominated the shots column, outshooting the NASL team 24-7. Hadji Barry could’ve scored the game-winning goal during regular time, but his shot hit off the crossbar keeping the game tied.
Rafael Ramos exited the game in the 38th minute after sustaining an injury, which saw Kevin Alston come into the game for the Portuguese right back. Adrian Winter and Cyle Larin were the other Orlando City players to enter the game later on in the 76th and 86th minute.
“We have confidence, and we are moving on,” Strikers coach Ciao Zanardi said. “We have players with good quality and experience.”
The Lions were currently six games unbeaten in all competitions heading into Wednesday’s Open Cup game against the Strikers. Fort Lauderdale advanced to the fifth round after downing D.C. United in the previous round through a penalty shootout.
For Orlando, it’s the second straight time in this tournament it met a Florida team, previously defeating the Jacksonville Armada 1-0 in the Fourth Round on June 15.
Fort Lauderdale meets the Chicago Fire on July 19-20 in the quarterfinals of the tournament. The Strikers will be the only NASL team to play in the next round.
Per tournament rules, MLS clubs are only allowed to have five international players to their game day rosters. Kaka, Cristian Higuita, Carlos and Julio Baptista were among the international players
Orlando City is back to MLS action when it visits FC Dallas on Monday, July 4 at 9 p.m. ET.
(Photo by Luis Rodriguez / Skyboat)
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