After the disappointment against FC Cincinnati in Wednesday’s quarter-final cup action, Miami finds themselves trying to pick up the pieces after losing two games in a row. It’s been a while since Nesta & Company have lost multiple matches in a row. The last time Miami FC dropped repeated matches was towards the end of the fall season in 2016. Dropping three in a row? You have to go back to the nightmarish spring season of 2016. They’ll be hoping to avoid that fate against North Carolina FC.
North Carolina FC come into match sixth in the combined standings. After a forgettable spring season for the renamed franchise, NCFC look to play better defensively in the fall in order to find their way into the NASL playoffs. Needing to get Nazmi Albadawi going early in the spring season, expect to see balls fed his way as the club needs his goal conversion to improve dramatically.
Ending the spring season on a high note has allowed NCFC to come in with renewed confidence. With their most recent draw at home to steal a point from Puerto Rico, they have only lost one of their previous five matches. Add in their recent loan acquisition of Renan Gorne, NCFC have added a pure striker into their arsenal. The 21-year old featured for Botafogo’s U-20 (Brazil) scoring a blistering 31 goals. Miami FC may avoid Gorne tonight but he will be a threat to prepare for the rest of the campaign.
Miami will look to make a statement tonight against NCFC in an effort to keep the buzz surrounding this team moving forward. Every team encounters roadblocks in a season, how a team navigates the setbacks determines how far they will get in pursuing the ultimate dream. Miami has gone from one of the best “first-blood” teams to one of the worst conceding first in five of their last seven matches. It is imperative to put goals on North Carolina early and get Rennella and Poku back into the chemistry they enjoyed for most of the spring season. Hunter Freeman will miss tonight’s game on a red card suspension, so don’t be surprised to see Lahoud line up at right back and allow for playing time for the likes of Rezende or Martinez in the midfield tonight.
It is hard to find two teams more evenly matched. In six matches so far, each team has a 1-4-1 record. In a historically low scoring affair, don’t be surprised to see some goals on the scoreboard tonight as both teams desperately need the three points in order to further their agenda.
Score prediction: Miami FC 2 – North Carolina FC 2