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Miami FC continues their quest for the 2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Title tomorrow

June 23, 2008 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Fort Lauderdale Strikers News Release

Miami, June 23, 2008 - This Tuesday June, 24th at 8pm (ET) Miami FC (3-6-7) will take on the Atlanta Silverbacks (4-3-5) in a do or die fashion at Tropical Park Stadium, for the second leg of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Tournament.

The Blues, in only their third year of existence, have never reached deeper into the tournament than the first round and would be making club history with a win.

Atlanta and Miami have yet to face each other in the 2008 season, leaving many questions as to how the game may unfold. However, each team definitely possesses star scoring power, holding the first and third-place point leaders in the USL-1 standings.

In Miami, there is the ever so dangerous Brazilian forward Alex Afonso who currently leads the league with 16 points on the season, and in Atlanta there is the 6'4" Senegal native Macoumba Kandji who holds the third place spot with 11 points.

For the Silverbacks the combination of Kandji and forward Jason McLaughlin; who also holds 11 points on the season (albeit in more appearances) is something Miami FC head coach Zinho is certainly going to need to prepare his defense for. McLaughlin was acquired from the Vancouver Whitecaps this off-season, and has been playing a key part making Atlanta's offense a well-rounded scoring threat.

The importance of Tuesday's match has not been lost on either teams, who undoubtedly will leave it all on the field until the final whistle sounds.

The Blues are coming off of an impressive 1-1 draw with the first-place Vancouver Whitecaps on the road; the word "impressive" is fitting when you note that Miami entered the match without key players Avery John, Alex Afonso, Leo Inácio, Sean Cameron, Josh Saunders, Eddie Gutierrez and Walter Ramirez, who were afforded a chance to rest for tournament play.

This should be very encouraging for the Miami faithful who can now be sure that not only are their starters going to be well-rested, but that there is significant depth on their roster that is still capable of hanging with the best in the league.

The Atlanta Silverbacks are fresh off a 3-1 win against the Puerto Rico Islanders in a USL-1 league match on Friday. They currently sit in fifth place in the USL-1 standings with 17 points. They will look for their attacking prowess to try to thwart a Miami defense that has only allowed one goal in their last seven games against USL-1 teams.

The winner in this bracket of second-round play will then continue on to do battle with the MLS club FC Dallas on July, 1st and continue their quest for the 2008 title. Miami FC, which is undefeated in its last eight appearances, will certainly be gunning to extend their streak to nine and test their skill against the MLS side of things.

Tickets for tomorrow's game are only $5! and are available by calling 1-866-57-MIAMI.

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