The Florida Soccer Soldiers continued its spectacular run in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night with a win over the Charlotte Independence in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Despite trailing twice, and playing all of extra time with only 10 men, the Soldiers eliminated the Charlotte Independence in 5-4 penalty kicks.
Bryant Jose Martin Gammiero, Josduar Serrano, Adolfo Suazo Williams, Carlos Daniel Meneses and Valentin Sabella converted from the penalty spot to help the Soldiers advance to the third round against North Carolina FC on May 29.
Tuesday’s win was the upset of the U.S. Open Cup– to date.
Of the 22 teams that advanced into the tournament’s third round 20 are professional clubs. The Soccer Soldiers and Orange County FC (Calif.) are the only semi-pro teams remaining in the tournament.
Orange County FC may be a semi-pro team based in a major metropolitan area; but, that may be where the similarities with the Soccer Soldiers end. Orange County is managed by American soccer legend Paul Caliguiri and is more entrenched in its community than the Soccer Solders, a club who hasn’t had a Twitter presence for more than a year.
As for the Soccer Soldiers, their pressing has borne fruit for a second straight U.S. Open Cup match. In their 2-1 win over Miami FC in the first round, the Soccer Soldiers harassed Miami FC defenders into costly giveaways that led to goals. Tuesday, a poor backpass from the Independence led to Sabella, a 19-year-old who was playing high school soccer for at Miami’s Maritime and Science Technology Academy as recently as 16 months ago, pouncing on the mistake, rounding the Independence keeper and scoring the equalizer in the 119th minute.
The Florida Soccer Soldiers are not the only Florida-based club remaining in the U.S. Open Cup. The Tampa Bay Rowdies throttled The Villages SC 4-1 in its second round match.