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Late game heroics by Pipe Rodriguez salvages Miami FC's 2-2 draw against Loudoun United

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Miami FC Academy (USLA) product Pipe Rodriguez made an incredible save on a late penalty chance as the team survived a second half comeback by Loudoun United to earn a point and end its losing streak Saturday night in Miami.

In an entertaining match that was delayed by more than 45 minutes due to lightning in the area, Miami FC wasted no time attacking Loudoun United early and often in the first half. Hungry to get points after a difficult stretch of match results, the hosts used the duo of forwards Mikey Lawrence and Frankie Lopez to put constant pressure on the visitors.

For Miami, it was the local products that especially made an impact Saturday evening. In the 11th minute, Mitrano played a wonderful ball through the Loudoun back line to Frankie Lopez who made more magic happen with a fantastic crossover move, losing his defender and sending a rocket past Loudoun's keeper at the near post. Miami FC led 1-0 and continued its newfound attack.

Then in the 26th minute, it was Lopez again going at the Loudoun defense. This time Lopez played a quick ball into Mikey Lawrence, who took a quick touch before spinning his defender around and firing a low shot into the back of the net to give Miami a 2-0 first-half lead.

While most of the action was in favor of Miami in the first half, the hosts almost had a disastrous ending to the half as Daltyn Knutson attempted to direct a clearance off his head to Rodriguez.

Instead, Knutson's header fell to Loudoun's Ryan who found himself one-on-one with Pipe Rodriguez. Fortunately, Pipe forced Ryan into a bad angle and got enough of the ball to create a difficult chance for the Loudoun attacker who was unable to capitalize. It would not be the last time Miami would need their young homegrown keeper to come up with heroics for this match.

The second half did not start well for Miami and the hosts allowed Loudoun too much possession that the visitors were keen to take advantage of. In the 51st minute, that pressure paid off for Loudoun United as Miami tried to clear a Loudoun cross. However, the cross landed at the feet of Aboukoura who sent a rocket of a volley through traffic and past Rodriguez who had no chance to make an attempt to save.

Two minutes later more pressure for Loudoun on Miami came and this time a well-placed cross found the head of Bidois who placed his shot perfectly over the outstretched hands of Rodriguez. All of a sudden, Miami who looked so confident on the ball in the first half appeared out of sorts after allowing two quick goals to now find itself fighting the furious comeback attempt of Loudoun.

However, after the two quick goals from Loudoun, both teams seemed to settle into the game more, both looking for an equalizer while not wanting to give up the winning goal to the opponent. Then drama came knocking at Miami's door in the 82nd minute.

On a Loudoun corner, the ball was cleared past safely for Miami but the official found Miami guilty of contact in the box, and a controversial penalty was awarded to Loudoun United. Loudoun's Ryan stepped up and placed a well-taken shot to Rodriguez's right. However, Pipe guessed correctly and

incredibly outstretched his left glove to make a fantastic save on Ryan's shot and secure a much needed point for Miami as the match ended 2-2. 

Miami will be back home at the FIU Football Stadium to host Detroit in a gigantic summer matchup on Saturday, June 29. Kickoff will be at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the match are on sale now at  

For the full season schedule, go to

CBS News Miami is the official broadcast partner for Miami FC. This story was reprinted with permission from Miami FC.

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