Action in Miami FC’s 3-1 win over FC Miami City. (Photo courtesy of Miami FC)

MIAMI, Fla. – Miami FC began its 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign Sunday night, defeating FC Miami City 3-1 in the play-in round.

The club was one of three North American Soccer League teams that were allowed to participate in the competition, via a play-in round. The Cosmos, as the Cosmos B, and Jacksonville Armada, also played. The NASL is on a year’s hiatus.

Miami FC will host Red Force FC in the first round of the tournament at FIU Soccer Stadium Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Miami FC, which is participating in the National Premier Soccer League this season, grabbed a one-goal lead in the 11th minute. Left back Tyler Polak sent forward a pass that forward Kris Tyrpak gathered in stride. Tyrpak found forward Don Smart open at the far post and sent a grounded cross that Smart buried to put Miami up, 1-0.

Back-to-back powerful shots by Vincenzo Rennellla and Jeff Michaud forced crucial saves by FC Miami City’s goalkeeper.

Despite only coming out of the half with one goal, it was one-way traffic throughout, with Miami dominating the ball and the majority of scoring chances.

The second half started slow for Miami FC, and FC Miami City took advantage, scoring an equalizer in the 55th minute.

But before that, at halftime, head coach Paul Dalglish made a bold substitution that paid huge dividends. Darío Suárez, who was signed a mere two days ago, came on for Vincenzo Rennella.

Suárez changed the complexion of the match with his pace and attacking bite. In the 57th minute, a ball cleared poorly out of the box landed in Suárez’ path and he uncorked a vicious left-footed half-volley that roared into the top left corner of the net.

He came across a golden opportunity to net Miami’s third goal. Dylan Mares sprung a counterattack and sent a through ball in Suárez’ direction. The young Cuban forward rounded the goalkeeper and poked his effort at goal, but the ball drifted slightly away from the goal and ricocheted off the post.

With the match in control, the Orange and Blue got an insurance goal in the first minute of stopage time. Michaud, who had threatened FC Miami City’s goalkeeper with long shots, curled a hard shot from the top of the box into the upper right corner of the net.