By: Joseph Abarno
In a rematch of last year’s American Premier Soccer League final, Boca Raton FC advanced to the final round of 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup qualifying over Uruguay Kendall on a windy Sunday.
The match was 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime, with Boca Raton outpointing Uruguay Kendall 5-4 from the spot. Last season, Boca Raton won the APSL final 1-0.
An energetic first half gave Boca Raton plenty of goal scoring opportunities, but they couldn’t put the ball away. Against the run of play, Uruguay Kendall took the lead after left back Alex Joseph headed in a perfectly placed corner kick from midfielder Mathy Schmid in the 21st minute.
The scoreline remained the same into the halftime break. Uruguay Kendall player-manager Mauro Grignola substituted himself out of the game before the second half, having accrued a yellow card and coming close to seeing red before halftime.
The second half kicked off with Boca Raton looking to get themselves back into the game. Uruguay Kendall tried to take advantage of Boca’s high backline, but they couldn’t produce anything from the counterattack.
In the 70th minute the ball fell perfectly to the feet of Boca forward Colby Burdette just outside the box. The 23-year-old former Florida International attacker put his laces through the ball to beat the keeper and tie the game for Boca.
Uruguay Kendall and Boca Raton continued to hunt for another goal, but neither side could break down the other’s defense. Regulation concluded with the scoreline tied up at 1-1.
As two rather uneventful halves of overtime neared their conclusion, Boca Raton defender Scott Gordon, who most recently played with the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers, rose up to receive a curling free kick into the Uruguay Kendall box. The tall defender headed the ball into the top right corner, but he was called offside and the score remained unchanged, forcing a penalty kick shootout.
Boca Raton would win the shootout 5-4 and advance in the competition.
After the match Uruguay Kendall player-manager Mauro Grignola said he felt confident going into penalties, but thought his side should have taken advantage of their good start to the game. He said his team’s reliance on the counter-attack wasn’t planned, but rather how the game played out.
Boca Raton FC manager Marcelo Castillo was happy with his side’s performance overall and is looking to surprise some opponents in Open Cup play.
Look for Boca Raton’s Colby Burdette to continue to shine, as the young attacker scored the equalizer and was a constant threat and menace to the Uruguay Kendall’s defense with and without the ball. Burdette felt his shot was in as soon as he struck it.
Boca Raton FC will continue their run to the tournament in the final round, which is scheduled for early April. The draw for Round 3 will be announced in early January.