The Underdog Dossier: Robertino Insua | Miami United FC

In our feature series devoted to getting to better know our underdog heroes – the lifeblood of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – we shine a spotlight at Robertino Insua of amateur side Miami United FC.
By: Angelo Maduro

The Man: You might know that surname, Insua, if you’re a lover of Argentine soccer of a certain vintage. Ruben Dario Insua – current manager of Argentine La Primera giants San Lorenzo and a masterful free-kick taker who earned the nickname in his playing days of El Poeta del Futbol (the Soccer Poet) – is the father of Robertino, one of the best goal-scoring midfielders in the U.S. amateur scene and currently in the Second Round of the 2024 Open Cup with Miami United FC. 

With a father who was one of the top attacking midfielders in Argentina during the late 80s and 90s (Insua Senior played for Independiente and Estudiantes and even lined up five times early in his career for the Argentine national team) Robertino grew up “always around the game.” He started playing when he “was three years-old” in a country where “soccer is the most important thing in the world.” 


Credentials
: You might also know the 30-year-old Robertino (Left in the photo above) by his own accomplishments if you’re a super-fan of the amateur and semi-pro levels of the game in the United States. He’s a scoring machine for Miami United FC, Roberto Sacca’s SoFla side who’ve qualified for six Open Cups since debuting back in 2015.They reached the Round of 32 in 2018, earning the right to play MLS club and 2022 Open Cup champions Orlando City SC.

Robertino – who played briefly in Ecuador’s first division – scored no fewer than ten goals in the three games Miami United FC played during last fall’s Qualifying Rounds.

He’s also one of only four players in this Second Round who’s had his hands on an Open Cup. While Luis Gil of Spokane Velocity and AJ DeLaGarza and Roger Espinoza (Des Moines Menace) actually won the title, Insua was an invited guest of U.S. Soccer at last year’s Open Cup Final at the home of runners-up Inter Miami. He presented the trophy on the field before the game – as a symbol of the many tiers of soccer in the U.S. and their overlapping in our Open Cup.


Even though Lionel Messi – double-assist hero of last year’s Open Cup Semifinal in Cincinnati – missed the 2023 Final through injury, it was a dream-come-true for Robertino to be in the same building with the Argentine World Cup winner (Messi watched Houston Dynamo beat his Inter Miami mates at last year’s Final from the stands with his family after suffering a recurrence of a muscle injury).

“This is my third time playing in the Open Cup, and it’s a format that suits us,” said Insua. “It’s knockout play, where anything can happen, and you need to be totally focussed on the moment. You need to be completely ready.”

#USOC2024: Insua had a massive influence on Miami United’s 1-0 win on the road in the First Round. Jhon Pahoy’s 30-year rocket of a free kick – called after a foul on Robertino – settled the affair in favor of the Florida amateurs (0-1), who weren’t given much hope of beating the USL League One pros at their intimidating Finley Stadium.

Miami United will play at home in the Second Round on April 3rd – and their opponents on the day will be Club de Lyon of NISA in the only game of the round from in the Sunshine State. 

Maduro is a senior reporter at large for usopencup.com.