Miami United brought all but two of their famed international players to Cape Coral Friday night for the 2nd leg of the Everglades Cup Series between them and the Cape Coral Hurricanes.  Two weeks ago, the Hurricanes traveled to Miami for leg one of the series on a late Sunday afternoon.  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 roster since many of them had work and school commitments.  The highly touted Miami team proceeded to roll up a 6-0 score on the much less experienced, undersized and younger Hurricane squad.

“I was looking forward to this game for two weeks ever since we played them in Miami,” stated Hurricanes General Manager J.P. Terrasi. “We wanted to prove that we could play and had a better squad than we brought over there before.  We added a few key players and are starting to get our college recruits in town that we’ve been waiting for.  The team we are forming is going to be formidable.” 

On 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 at all.  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.

From the opening kick, the Hurricanes squad rallied and played with more heart and determination than their age and experience showed on paper.  Two of the newest members to the Hurricane’s squad, Cody Antonini and Nick Murawski, took charge and made an immediate impact.  There was gritty play from the start, as the veteran Hurricane players worked with their newer members and took it straight to Miami. 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 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 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 growing Hurricanes crowd erupted in cheers as their home team went up 2-0 over the much acclaimed 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.

As the Hurricanes have done before, they had a momentary lapse of defense right at the end of the first half.  That brief moment though 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 in stoppage.  The halftime score was Cape Coral Hurricanes 2, Miami United 1.

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.

Even the famed Miami striker Simone Quintieri was impressed with the Hurricanes play at the end of the game.

“They have some good players on their team and I was impressed, especially with their number 14 (forward Antonio Wint),” Quinteri stated. “He was good.” 

Photo Credit: Cape Coral Hurricanes