When Julian Gressel slipped a penalty kick past the Miami FC goalkeeper to tie the game for Atlanta United late in the second half, the visiting MLS side probably thought it was headed to extra time in its U.S. Open Cup match against the NASL club at Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami on Wednesday night.
But a giveaway by Atlanta's Harrison Heath sent Miami's Kwadwo Poku in alone in the final minute of stoppage time and Poku put the ball past Atlanta United 'keeper Alec Kann to give Miami FC a stunning 3-2 victory over Atlanta, sending the NASL side on to the quarterfinals of the Open Cup.
Atlanta had opened the scoring on a goal by Brandon Vazquez in the 35th minute, but Miami equalized two minutes later on a goal by Stefano Pinho and took the lead in the 52nd minute on a header off a free kick by Rhett Bernstein. But a foul in the box by Poku gave Atlanta a penalty and Gressel converted in the 75th minute to tie the game, 2-2. But Poku redeemed himself with the late winner.
- 35' – ATL – Brandon Vazquez Watch
- 37' – MIA – Stefano Pinho Watch
- 52' – MIA – Rhett Bernstein Watch
- 75' – ATL – Julian Gressel (PK) Watch
- 90+3' – MIA – Kwadwo Poku Watch
- GIANT-KILLERS? Miami FC hasn't played like a second-flight club in the U.S. Open Cup this summer. Wednesday's victory over Atlanta United was the second straight win over an MLS club for the South Florida side, which currently sits atop the NASL table in the league's spring season. Miami won the battle of Florida when it beat Orlando City, 3-1, on June 14. And there are more than a few ex-MLS players on the Miami roster, including former NYCFC player Kwadwo Poku, who scored the game-winner in the final minute of stoppage time.
- RISING STAR: Brandon Vazquez has now scored goals in both of his U.S. Open Cup games this season, and in six MLS matches for Atlanta United, totaling 82 minutes of action, he has one goal. It might be time to see if he can get a few more minutes for United.
- NO REST FOR THE WICKED: In less than 72 hours, Atlanta United is back at it in the chase for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, as they travel to Columbus to take on Crew SC. Atlanta currently are in the sixth and final playoff spot, with New York Red Bulls one point behind them. Columbus are one point ahead of Atlanta, but have played one more game.
Miami FC lineup (4-3-3, right to left): #17 Daniel Vega (GK) – #15 Hunter Freeman, #18 Rhett Bernstein, #5 Mason Trafford, #23 Blake Smith – #26 Michael Lahoud, #20 Richie Ryan, #7 Dylan Mares – #29 Stefano Pinho, #10 Kwadwo Poku, #8 Vincenzo Rennella
Substitutes: #1 Ryan Herman (GK), #2 Jonathan Borrajo, #6 Ariel Martinez, #9 Jaime Chavez, #12 Tyler Ruthven, #21 Calvin Rezende, #28 Gabriel Farfan
Atlanta United lineup (4-2-3-1, right to left): #25 Alec Kann (GK) – #2 Tyrone Mears, #26 Anton Walkes, #5 Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez, #21 Mark Bloom – #14 Carlos Carmona, #16 Chris McCann – #24 Julian Gressel, #8 Kevin Kratz, #30 Andrew Carleton – #19 Brandon Vazquez
Substitutes: #23 Alex Tambakis (GK), #6 Miles Robinson, #13 Harrison Heath, #20 Christopher Goslin, #22 Mikey Ambrose, #27 Zach Lloyd, #33 Lagos Kunga
- MIA: Tuesday, July 4 – at North Carolina FC (7:30 pm ET)
- ATL: Saturday, July 1 – at Columbus (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE)