After getting out Puerto Rico with three points despite giving up plenty of chances, Miami FC had to return home and get ready to play the same club again. Entering the game Miami had not allowed a single goal since Eamon Zayed’s 88th minute tap in three weeks ago. Would Miami’s back line hold up? Would Mason Trafford make an appearance?
The answer to both questions is absolutely. Mason Trafford reemerged in the starting line up along side Rhett Bernstein. The duo have been outstanding for Miami when paired together, rarely finding themselves creating problems for goalkeeper Daniel Vega. Bernstein and Trafford had their hands full multiple times throughout the match including multiple early free kicks given up by their teammates.
It was immediately apparent that a sparkplug was missing in the Miami line up. The two clubs traded chances early on but Miami’s always seemed just a bit off. Final balls are one thing, but the boys in blue found themselves a little disjointed. With Kwadwo Poku on assignment, there were few dashing runs through the middle of the field or the ability to get past a persistent Puerto Rico backline.
The first half had three free kicks within thirty yards for Puerto Rico. Miami defended them well, deflecting one and having the other two botched by Ramos. A couple of corners were dangerous but both teams left the pitch with zero’s on the scoreboard.
The second half would build up slowly and Miami would get the better of the early possession until the 54th minute where Ramos put one off the post and it fell to Giuseppe Gentile. Gentile had plenty of net but sailed the ball high into the brigade end. Ariel Martinez took a crack in the 57th minute with a shot from a tight angle that also sailed high and into the beer garden.
It only took 70 minutes for the game to finally show signs of life. An Ariel Martinez cross found Stefano Pinho rising above everyone, only for the header to miss wide by the slimmest of margins. Vega would have to make a massive after PRFC’s Ramos got in alone on the keeper but his final touch was just too heavy allowing him to clear.
The deadlock would be broken just moments later as Miami FC reserves were looking to the bench for a call up. Jaime Chavez got a cross from roommate Blake Smith and slotted it home with a header almost out of nowhere. The game winning goal would be Chavez’ fourth goal in four games and seal the victory for Miami.
Below we have audio from the press conference with comments by manager Alessandro Nesta and Jaime Chavez. The Miami FC take on the New York Cosmos Wednesday 9/6 at 8pm from Riccardo Silva Stadium on the grounds of FIU. Tickets are $5 with a college ID.