They needed extra time, but Boca Raton Football Club defeated Real Miami CF 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Broward College to advance in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifiers.
Boca Raton will now face Uruguay Kendall on November 21 after the Miami team defeated Red Force 3-0.
“Uruguay Kendall is a quality team,” says Marcelo Castillo. “Last season we played them for both the regular season title and APSL Championship. They are a tough group and we look forward to the challenge.”
Boca started off Sunday flat versus a Real Miami squad that was hungry for their first win versus the current APSL Champions and they held their own. Boca Raton was able to counter and forward Colby Burdette had numerous opportunities to score both in the first and second half but was unable to find the back of the net.
In the second half, tensions began to flare.
Forward Xavier Silva and Real Miami’s Franco Gianotti were shown straight reds after the Real Miami defender tackled him to the ground and had a scuffle.
After numerous attempts by Boca to get on the scoreboard, highlighted by Scott Gordon’s blast from 20 yards out that hit the crossbar, both teams headed into extra time tied at 0-0.
In less than four minutes into overtime, C.J. Phelps fielded a ball in the Boca Raton backfield and fed it to Santhonax who played a beautiful through ball to former Fort Lauderdale Striker, Nickardo Blake, who dribbled past two defenders and had a beautifully placed cross that found Shadi Harb who headed it home past the keeper to give Boca the 1-0 lead in overtime.
“We had possession of the ball. We were moving it side to side when Nikardo got it on the right and took two defenders on with his speed all the way to the end line inside of the 18-yard box,” explains Harb. “When I saw this, I started sprinting because I knew he would cross it. He raised his head and gave me a perfect pass in the air. I got ahead of the defender that was marking me, jumped and head the ball across the goalkeeper.”
“It felt like one of the biggest rewards because we had so many chances throughout the game and dominated the game for the most part,” added Harb. “It was a whole team effort and I’m happy I was able to contribute to it.”
In the second overtime, Real Miami’s Jorge Salgado was taken down just outside the box, which set up a dangerous opportunity for Real Miami.
Alonzo Hernandez took the shot with a beautiful curve that left Boca keeper, Alan Trani with no way of defending, giving the home team the 1-1 tie.
Preparing for the 1-1 draw, head coach Marcelo Castillo brought in keeper Derrick Santos to relieve Trani.
Upon restart of play, Colby Burdette found a streaking Gabe Taboada down the left side.
Burdette’s cross was just out of the reach of the Real Miami defense but perfectly placed in Taboada’s feet. Two touches later, Taboada’s shot was in the back of the net at the last minute of the second overtime giving Boca Raton the go-ahead goal that qualified the club to the next round.
“It was a very high-intensity game,” said Burdette after the game. “Both teams were hungry for the win but at the end I was able to get Gabe on a run to finish the game.”
“Colby had a sensational cross,” adds Taboada. “I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time. I’m glad I was able to once again come through for my teammates.”
Boca Raton will now face Uruguay Kendall in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the 2016 U.S. Open Cup on November 21.
Watch Gabe’s game-winning goal below: