Inter Miami CF released its season ticket price tiers Tuesday, with prices ranging from approximately $425 for supporters section tickets to nearly $3,000 for premium sideline seats.
In this episode of the Magic City Soccer podcast, Matt, Drew and Lee discuss The Miami FC’s second NPSL National Championship, and look ahead to the club’s move to NISA. Inter Miami’s signings and stadium also get debated. In addition, in our companion episode, Drew and Lee have some Q&As with Miami FC players Mark Pais, Miguel Gonzalez and Lance Rozeboom. Join us, won’t you?
Another tease on squad building from IMCF HQ. A late night meeting to pitch to another player, the kind of effort which can probably only mean it’s another potential Designated Player target. But does this contain a clue big enough to connect the dots back to the possible target?
I am an empanada enthusiast and who isn’t? And who doesn’t love Graziano’s? Product placement or a hint to the player’s nationality? Let’s assume the latter. An Argentine DP for IMCF makes a massive amount of sense. Anyone who gets out to games in Miami knows that Argentineans show up for soccer and they love being in a stadium watching the game live. South Florida may not have the big numbers of Argentineans as it does Cubans, Colombians or Venezuelans but you can’t go to a game without seeing a River or Boca jersey or maybe someone chilling with their maté. A lot of names have been touted as striking options but if you are IMCF you would absolutely be looking at filling your #10 jersey with a DP. The #10 jersey is always a great thing to see on the back of an Argentine player. Maradona… Messi…
Looking at the profile of Cavani as a target. Is there someone out there with a contract expiring, a big enough profile to wake people up and who would be stellar in MLS? Why yes there is and that man is Éver Banega.
Banega is the kind of technician that the team needs in the midfield engine room. A wonderful player on the ball capable of creating chances and controlling the game. He is a fantastic playmaker. Coming to the end of his career in Europe in La Liga with Sevilla he was the player Unai Emery built his Europa League winning team around. The rumours in the Spanish press are that Los Rojiblancos might be looking to cash in early. Turkish club Galatasaray had a little interest while the transfer window was open. What this means is that for a few million dollars IMCF might be able to land Banega in the winter market, so he could join up with the franchise for the start of the MLS season.
It’s a move that makes a lot of sense for the club but possibly the player as well. Banega is currently 31 years old so the security of a 3-4 year contract on a DP salary might turn his head. Éver might also be considering a return to his home country but the unique challenge of being the main man in the 305 is something that might very well interest him at this stage in his career. The possibilities are there. Might you find yourself in line at Graziano’s in 2020, turn around and see Señor Banega? Maybe.
After a summer of dormancy, Miami finally awoke from it’s slumber. While locally The Miami FC took home the NPSL Championship, there have been no friendlies in the Magic City. Miami was set to miss European club friendlies for the first time since 2016. That all changed with a late addition of two European mega powers in Barcelona and Napoli.
FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi will not fly to the Miami with his team to contest two friendlies with S.S.C. Napoli after sustaining a right calf strain.
The Miami FC claimed its second National Premier Soccer League National Championship on Saturday night, defeating host New York Cosmos 3-1.
Miami FC, which has announced it has plans to leave NPSL for the National Independent Soccer Association, became the first team in NPSL history to win a second title.
After both teams alternated chances in the first 10 minutes, a high press from Miami FC and Ariel Martinez generated a turnover from Daniel Szetela. The ball landed at the feet of captain Dylan Mares, who passed to Miguel Gonzalez, and found Mares on a one-time pass that set him up for a clear shot on goal. A low roller to the left corner beat Cosmos keeper Paul Blanchette to put Miami up 1-0.
The key second goal came just six minutes later, when another turnover from Szetela forced by Tomás Granitto led to the ball falling right at Mares’ foot. A few touches and a small move to the right found Mares open in the box with a look at the top-right corner. The captain again took his chance, and doubled his team’s advantage.
New York Cosmos would halve the advantage in the 30th minute, when an Ansi Agolli free kick sneaked through the crowd in the box and past Miami FC goalkeeper Mark Pais, who was anticipating a header that never came.
Keeping them in it
It was the one misstep from Pais, who made a number of saves to keep Miami FC in the game. Particularly in the second half, Pais made save after save to keep the one-goal advantage in place. In the 86th minute, it took a double-fingertip save from Pais to keep Miami FC on top.
The game was finally sorted in stoppage time, when defender Shawn Chin won a ball and found forward Darío Suárez on the wing. Chin then continued a run, and Suárez found him streaking down the right. With only Blanchette to beat, Chin calmly moved around the sliding keeper, continued his run, and passed the ball into the heart of the net. Chin’s shirt came off, his team ran over to join him at the opposite flag post, and the champions defended their crown.
It has been almost two years since the lights of the NASL were shut off. While last year maintained a sense of rivalry with Jacksonville, Miami FC has had to shift to a new normal. Saturday’s NPSL final against the New York Cosmos brings back the familiar feelings that have long been missing for the Miami faithful.
Saturday night at FIU Soccer Stadium was like a page out of an old script. Miami FC have had their fair share of run-ins with mother nature. Saturday would be no different as the skies opened with lightning bolts on campus an hour before kickoff. By the time the weather cleared, it was thirty minutes past kickoff. It would be another forty-five minutes before the teams could commence the NPSL Semi-Final.
The National Premier Soccer League season feels like a long grind despite having half the amount of games of a professional league. Miami FC are looking to add to their long list of accomplishments, by becoming the first team to repeat as NPSL National Champions. Standing in their way is a Cinderella story out of Cleveland, Ohio. The previous embodiment of a soccer club in Cleveland won the NPSL title in 2016. As if Miami and Cleveland have not been written enough sporting lore, the soccer pitch will now take it’s place in the spotlight.
The Miami FC suffered a fate that very few soccer organizations around the world have had to deal with. About a year and a half ago, Miami was a team without a home. With no other alternative than joining the National Premier Soccer League, a significant drop from the lofty heights of the second division NASL, the Orange and Blue had to settle for what they could get. It has been two years since they’ve played a full season of soccer. With Miami FC joining NISA (the newly-created National Independent Soccer Association) in the third division, this ensures that South Florida will have two full-season professional soccer teams from 2020.
Shunned From The Ranks
Imagine dominating professional soccer for an entire season and then being sent down two divisions. That’s the reality that the Orange and Blue have had to endure for the past sixteen months. The NPSL has been an adequate host for this club, but still there has been an aura lacking around the club. Attendance has fallen dramatically and changing venues three times since the collapse of the NASL hasn’t helped. By joining NISA, Miami is likely to attract greater advertising revenue and sponsors, giving the club more resources to work with.
No one would have faulted the organization for slashing their budget and cutting back on payroll. After the 2018 season, fellow NASL exiles Jacksonville Armada folded their first team and fielded a roster primarily comprised of college-level talent. The majority of NPSL clubs are amateur and Miami could have followed suit.
Then there was the exodus of players. Major credit was given to coach Paul Dalglish and Miami FC Vice President Darren McCartney as they were able to rebuild a roster on the fly.
The result? The 2018 National Championship trophy.
Despite only six players from that 2018 squad featuring in this current one, Miami are two wins away from being the first-ever repeat national champions in the NPSL.
An In-Depth Look At NISA
NISA will be a fully sanctioned professional league under U.S. Soccer Federation Pro League Standard guidelines. This will be the first American league to run on the international soccer calendar (fall to spring). NISA clubs will earn automatic berths into the U.S. Open Cup.
The league has announced teams 10 teams that will participate in the inaugural season so far: Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Charlotte, Orange County (CA), Los Angeles, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Providence, San Diego, and Miami. Don’t be surprised if more clubs join NISA after the addition of Miami FC.