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Blues rally past Lynch's FC


In 60 brilliant seconds, Miami FC exorcised nearly 500 minutes of offensive futility.

Luckily for the Blues, it came at the perfect time.

Trailing amateur team Lynch's FC by a goal in the second half of their U.S. Open Cup opener, the Blues scored two dramatic goals -- both in the 64th minute -- to spur a 2-1 victory at Tropical Park Tuesday night.

And both times, Diego Serna was in the middle of it all.

Serna fed a feathery pass to Paulo Araujoû Jr., who punched through the first goal, and then the former Fusion star scored on a breakaway less than a minute later.

For the Blues, those was their first goals of any kind since the third game of the USL-1 season -- a stretch of five matches. Afterward, frustrations remained.

"I said farewell to five games without a goal,'' Serna said. "But I'm not happy because the coaches aren't happy. They ask for one thing and the game goes in a little different direction.''

The finish was much better than the start for the Blues.

Shut out for the previous nine halves, Miami FC coach Zinho came out with an aggressive formation, in an attempt to jump up on Lynch's FC and put the game away early.

The strategy nearly worked.

The Blues should have had two goals in the first four minutes, including a header by Araujo that glanced off the crossbar.

But as the half wore on, Lynch's FC settled down, and the players, although overmatched in ability, stuck to their assignments.

Then in the 44th minute of a scoreless match, disaster struck for the Blues.

Alejandro Taylor streaked toward a long pass in the penalty box, and Chris Williams mistakenly took him down from behind, handing the visiting team a penalty kick.

Tomislov Krasonovic sent the free kick past goalie Pat Hannigan's outstretched hands and put Lynch's FC up 1-0 heading into intermission.

Williams' gaffe earned him a seat on the bench to start the second half. Jarryd Goldberg took his place on the pitch.

For the first 19 minutes of the second half, there was little difference than the first. Then, in a flash, the Blues' confidence -- and their U.S. Open Cup chances -- returned.

"There's been a lot of pressure for a young team,'' Zinho said. "We have to get a lot better. Games are going to get much more difficult.''

That begins next Tuesday, when Miami FC hosts the Charleston Battery in the second round. Charleston beat Atlanta FC 2-0 Tuesday night to advance.