*Photo Provided By The Miami FC*
Before we get started on the very rare double recap article below, we want to apologize for the lack of structure over the recent weeks. After Hurricane Irma, it is safe to say that we have been in quite a lull. Everyone in the Magic City Soccer family is safe and our families are doing well.
Most of Miami was met with heavy rain, high wind gusts, and the occasional tornado warning. Damage was limited, and we know it could have been much worse. Miami dodged a missile when you compare the damage with Houston and Puerto Rico. We know that economically times are tough for everyone, if you are able to please donate to the relief efforts.
Miami FC got its first taste of NASL home cooking after Irma as they faced off against the Armada on Saturday night. Miami would finally get Vincenzo Rennella back on the bench after a lengthy spell on the injured list. Nesta deployed a 4-3-1-2 on the second leg of the back to back matchups against Jacksonville, going with hot hand Jaime Chavez and Stefano Pinho up top. The most eye-opening deployment was to see NASL “utility-man” Lovel Palmer get deployed at right back while trying to rest some legs for the three matches in seven days.
Miami got off to a fast start earning a couple corners and putting a couple shots on target during the early parts of the game. The Armada were up to the task as they’re efforts seemed boosted by the traveling Section 904 contingent. Miami earned a free kick in the eleventh minute and Richie Ryan delivered a beautiful curler that clanged off the back post and somehow ricocheted right to Caleb Patterson-Sewell. Miami would strike first behind the header of Stefano Pinho on a beautifully delivered cross by point machine Jaime Chavez. The assist for Chavez was his second to go along with six goals in the last month of league play.
The two teams would exchange chances through the rest of the game with Poku forcing Patterson-Sewell to come up with a big parry that landed right at the feet of Dylan Mares but he was judged offsides. Mares would make a dashing run again getting the interception in the attacking zone and streaking through the middle of the Armada defense. His shot was right at Patterson-Sewell who did good to hold his ground. Jacksonville would lash a low shot right after the teams played hot potato but Daniel Vega would come up big diving to his right and keeping Miami ahead. The last big chance of the game would come on a through ball to Jaime Chavez. Chavez found himself in a one-on-one with Patterson-Sewell and like a page out of FIFA, chipped the keeper as he found himself in no mans land. However, just like FIFA the chip would sail just wide.
Miami ended the season series with Jacksonville with a combined score line of 10-0. Miami picked up all the points throughout the year and sent the Armada and Section 904 home to regroup for a final push towards the final NASL playoff spot.
Three Days later, Miami FC would find themselves back on the pitch in a make up game against the San Francisco Deltas. Wednesday was marred by torrential rainfall throughout the city and the pitch held up very well given the conditions. The game kicked off in what seemed to be beautiful conditions, but mother nature had other plans for both squads.
The build up in play favored Miami FC early and they could capitalize on a bad foul by San Francisco. Michel found himself over a free kick 28 yards out just to the right of the middle of the pitch. A clever dink over the wall found Stefano Pinho in the technical area, his shot was parried by Peiser but landed right to Vincenzo Rennella. Rennella calmly slotted it between the legs of Jaime Chavez who found himself all alone and offsides at the back post but did well to leave it alone to let Miami take the lead early on. Chavez would get a chance in the 17th minute but his blast comes right off the cross bar denying him of yet another goal. In what almost seemed to be a signal to mother nature, the shot off the crossbar brought heavy rain to the game that blinded the press box as visibility became next to none over the next ten minutes.
Perhaps you could forgive Rhett Bernstein for taking down Pablo Dyego at the edge of the technical area during the rainfall. Miami would give up a penalty and Dyego would quickly take command over the ball for the penalty chance. Vega guessed wrong and Dyego slotted it calmly to the bottom right corner tying the game at one a piece.
All the noteworthy action throughout the game ended right after that penalty kick as neither side seemed very interested in pushing the pace for the rest of the match. While Miami FC would gladly take a draw, and escape the poor conditions with no injuries, it was a poor showing for those sides. The biggest defeat would probably have to go to the Miami FC supporters who braved the elements for over two hours to watch this dud of a game. Miami FC squandered the opportunity to clinch the first seed in the NASL playoffs with a win, but they’ll have a chance to do it again against the Deltas on Saturday night.