The highly anticipated rematch between the top two teams in the NASL fall table is here. As we mentioned last week, the fall season has been a reverse of fortune for teams who found themselves at the bottom in the spring. Positions three and four are currently held by Edmonton and North Carolina who need a magical run in this campaign to earn a spot in the NASL playoffs.
In an unexpected starting line up for Miami there was no lack of chemistry during last week’s match in Bayamon. Michel found himself in the starting line up with Richie Ryan staying in Miami to be alongside his family as they welcomed their second child. Additionally, Vincenzo Rennella and Mason Trafford were still out as Miami had to call yet again upon Lovel Palmer and Jaime Chavez.
Jaime Chavez answered the call early on by receiving a pass at the top of the technical area and calmly turning and putting one low past the keeper. Puerto Rico had substantial chances throughout the match just to be denied by Daniel Vega time and time again. The keeper has kept his impressive form lately by maintaining yet another clean sheet and tallying eight saves to his credit. Miami has not allowed a goal in the last 272 minutes of play. Given the weather conditions present tonight, the Blues could easily put this well over 360 minutes as the turf will be slick and damp given the amount of rainfall over the past 24 hours.
Although Dylan Mares collected both assists last week, Kwadwo Poku found himself threatening Puerto Rico multiple times throughout the match. Poku is unavailable for Miami FC as he is currently with Ghana as they look to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Miami may need Rennella back in the fold tonight to allow themselves some depth at the top with Poku’s absence. It’s easy to predict a heavier workload for either Martinez or Michel tonight with the absence of Miami’s CAM. Both teams are looking for three points tonight to distance themselves from the pack in the middle of the table at the moment.
Score Prediction: 1-0