The 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup began with a bang as South Florida Surf of the Premier Development League (PDL) routed Red Force FC 4-2 in a goal-littered opening contest at Tropical Park in Miami.
The Surf were dominant all over the pitch in a lively first half. They stymied Red Force FC in midfield, cutting off the supply lines to the home side’s talented No. 10 Stiven Salinas, who was a member of the Red Force team that reached the Second Round of the 2014 Open Cup. And after dominating possession in the early going, South Florida Surf took a well-deserved lead after ten minutes when Manuel Gonzales curled home a delicious free kick over the wall and down into the lower corner of the net. They kept the pressure on the home side as the first half wore on, but were unable to extend their lead. And as so often is the case, they paid a price for their missed chances. Gilbert Ruiz curled a shot home from 20 yards out that took a wicked deflection before nestling in the side netting to even the score five minute before halftime.
The leveler proved little more than a false-dawn for the home team, who were second-best for the whole of the contest. Jeff Michaud made it 2-1 for South Florida early in the second-half after pushing home from close-range following a tasty piece of approach work from Darwin Espinal. Bradley Farias finished off a similar pattern shortly after to make it 3-1 and Michaud picked up his second of the game in the 76th minute with the best goal of the day. He controlled brilliantly at the edge of the area before firing into the top corner with his left foot. A late goal from Salinas for Red Force was nothing more than consolation as South Florida Surf booked a dream date with North American Soccer League (NASL) leaders Miami FC on May 17.