Herons are three wins away from first trophy
By Official Florida FC
Florida’s last hope to win the national championship is into the quarterfinals.
Inter Miami used Nico Stefanelli’s 73rd minute goal to eliminate Nashville SC in the Round of 16 on May 23.
Stefanelli’s first goal in nearly two months came moments after the match resumed following a weather delay.
Drake Callender’s 36th minute save to deny Randall Leal kept the match scoreless. The Herons opened the scoring in the 57th minute. Nashville equalized within 90 seconds of introducing leading attackers Hany Mukhtar and Alex Muyl.
“I thought the guys enjoyed the cup atmosphere…What we’re really focusing on trying to create with this football club, is to get a trophy. That’s the challenge for us,” head coach Phil Neville told the team’s website afterward. “I don’t think anyone can question the character, the belief, and spirit of this team and this football club.”
Nashville beat Inter Miami in league play on May 17. But, one mid-May match will not determine the fate of either club in the way that a knockout tournament – and the subsequent Champions League berth for winning the competition – might.
Inter Miami is going for it. Neville started most of his best XI. Forwards Leonardo Campana and Josef Martinez were in the starting lineup against Nashville as were DeAndre Yedlin and Kamal Miller.
Inter Miami will play its first competitive match in Alabama on June 7.
Birmingham Legion of the USL Championship is one of two lower-league sides in the quarterfinals. The Legion will host Inter Miami at Protective Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m.
The Inter Miami- Birmingham Legion winner would face either FC Cincinnati – the team with the best record in Major League Soccer this season—or mid-table USL Championship side Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the semifinals.