Wilmington Hammerheads FC built up a two-goal lead in the opening five minutes and defeated Miami FC 2-1 on Wednesday in the third round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at FIU Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Wilmington followed up its 6-0 result against Miami Fusion FC in the tournament’s opener with another burst of offense as Jeff Michaud and Justin Moose scored in the second and fifth minutes, respectively, to jump out to a quick two-score lead.
Michaud’s right-footed strike from about 25 yards out sneaked inside the left post, while Moose broke free down the right side to push the Hammerheads’ advantage early in the first half.
Wilmington would need every bit of that early burst to sustain a victory as Miami’s second-half sub Jaime Chavez cut Wilmington’s cushion in the 52nd minute after finishing a one-on-one opportunity to bring the home side to within striking distance.
The host team had a chance for the equalizer in the 82nd minute with a penalty kick, but Eric Ati stepped up big with a diving stop to his right to turn away Dario Cvitanich.
Miami FC competes in the North American Soccer League (NASL), with 12 teams – nine in the United States, two in Canada and one in Puerto Rico. It is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer) as the Division II league in the American league system, under Major League Soccer (MLS) and above the United Soccer League (formerly, USL Pro).
With the victory, Wilmington now travels to Sandy, Utah to face Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake in the fourth round of the US Open Cup on Wednesday, June 15.
The Hammerheads have now won three straight following a result in their U.S. Open Cup opener and 3-1 win in league play against Toronto FC II last Sunday.
Wilmington finishes a stretch of three matches in six days on Friday, June 3 as the Hammerheads return to USL competition against Harrisburg City Islanders. Kick off is slated for 7 p.m. at Legion Stadium. Wilmington stands 3-4-3 in the eastern conference table, while Harrisburg City has a 4-6-1 mark.