Special to The Breeze
The Miami United NPSL soccer team brought all but two of its high touted and famed international players to Cape Coral Friday night for the second leg of the Everglades Cup Series against the Cape Coral Hurricanes.
Two weeks ago, the Hurricanes traveled to Miami for leg one of the series. The game was scheduled to be played the night before but because of field conflicts, Miami had to ask for the game to be rescheduled until Sunday afternoon. The Hurricanes still made the trip although with a severely depleted 13-player roster since many of them had work and school commitments.
The highly touted Miami team proceeded to roll up a 6-0 score against the Hurricane squad.
Friday night, Miami had brought a similar team that the Hurricanes faced two weeks prior but there wasn't much the same with the Cape Coral squad. Even though the Hurricanes only got three new players in from the dozen or so that they are expecting back from college, everything looked and felt different about the team even leading up to the opening kickoff.
The Hurricanes dominated time of possession in the first half and also played well off the counter as was showed by the team's first goal. Davian Cranston took a good midfield pass down the left side and had a great cross where newcomer Cody Antonini was finishing his run and tucked it home for the first score of the game.
The second goal came just over ten minutes later as the Hurricanes, who were really starting to play well together, had a string of successful good passes that was started by newcomer Nick Murawski in midfield and he also ended it after completing his left-sided run where he slammed the ball home cross-corner past the goalkeeper.
The home crowd erupted in cheers as the Hurricanes up 2-0 over the highly touted Miami United squad. The Hurricanes continued to press but the Miami United team got their shots in as well after that and could have went on the board a few times if it weren't for some excellent shot stopping from Cape Coral goalkeeper John Damasco.
The Hurricanes had a momentary lapse of defense right at the end of the first half. That brief moment allowed Miami to get on the board with a well placed corner kick and subsequent scramble in front of the net. Stefan Diopp was in the right place at the right time, as he popped the ball past the Hurricane keeper with less than 20 seconds to go of injury time.
The second half started much like the first half with the Hurricanes coming out and pressing the play. They outshot the Miami team in both halves 14 to 12 but the Hurricanes had four shots that could have easily doubled the score.
Each team made substitutions and play went back and forth through the remainder of the game until the final possession when Miami had backed up the Hurricanes deep into their zone. Miami was knocking on the door when one of their players went down easily just outside of the box forcing a free kick.
The Miami player stepped up and drove the ball over the Hurricane wall and hit the underside of the crossbar in the top left corner. The ball ricocheted and fell just over the line for the game's final goal. Although the game ended in a 2-2 tie, the Miami team got much more than they were hoping as the younger Hurricanes played very hard and well together throughout the game.
Both teams are two of the newest to the NPSL and are members of the newly formed Sunshine Conference that also includes Jacksonville United, Tampa Marauders and the Georgia Revolution. For more on the game and the players for both teams, visit their websites at: www.CapeHurri-canes.com and www.MiamiUnited-Soccer.com.
Saturday night, May 4, marks the first match of the Inaugural NPSL season for both teams when the two teams play each other once again at Cape Coral High School at 7 p.m.
Tickets will be sold at the gate for only $6 for adults, $4 for students and then youth (14 and under) who are members of any youth soccer organization can get in free with a paid adult as long as they wear their soccer club jersey.