It shouldn’t have to be said that Miami’s recent form is impressive. No losses in their last 12 matches across all competitions and statement wins including 4-0 and 3-1 tallies against Jacksonville and Orlando, respectively. The next challenge that awaits is the quintessential thorn in the Miami FC side: none other than the New York Cosmos. New York comes into the match tied for second in the NASL table, seven points behind Miami. In the five league matches so far between the two squads, the Cosmos have been able to take 12 points from Miami, with the Blues lone win spoiling New York’s opening night at MCU Park this season. In the highly anticipated clash of the old guard vs. the new guard, potential spring championship implications are at stake.
Unlike Miami, the Cosmos have been unable to find consistency in their form, notching only two wins in their last seven matches across all competitions. The key to Saturday’s showdown may lie in which team is able is to find the back of the net first. In the first five clashes, the team that has scored first has gone on to win the match. One of the key components to Miami’s unbeaten run is their ability to accumulate first-half goals, scoring first in their last seven matches.
A daunting challenge awaits in the middle of the coming week as Atlanta United comes to Riccardo Silva Stadium. As much as Nesta and team brass state this Cosmos’ game is a must-win, Miami surely has an eye on Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matchup, where the winner will have the opportunity to possibly host German legend Bastien Schweinsteiger and the Chicago Fire. My starting XI prediction for the match on Saturday is as follows: