Miami FC bounced back and looked like the team that all their supporters know and love yesterday in Indianapolis. After dropping points in their previous two games against the San Francisco Deltas, which brought the overall first seed in to question, the turnaround was massive for the club. Indy looked outmatched from the start and saw their season officially end after the final whistle.
It wasn’t long before Miami FC would find their way by notching the first goal in the fourth minute of play. Jaime Chavez and Stefano Pinho played a nifty combination that allowed Pinho to free himself in point blank range. Stefano Pinho, now the 3rd leading goal scorer in the NASL 2.0 record books (33), converted by blasting it past Jon Busch to quiet the Indy faithful.
The two would link up again for Miami’s second goal of the evening. Chavez would find himself running out of space after a great ball was delivered by Hunter Freeman on the right side of the technical area. Chavez, with very little room to spare in front of the goal line, played a cross over to Pinho. Pinho got around his marker and tapped one by Busch again for his second goal of the night and 15th of the season.
Miami would get their third of the night just minutes later as former Eleven Dylan Mares would find the back of the net. Mares craftily dribbled his way around the Indy defense and found himself in open space right in the heart of the penalty area. The blast put low and in the corner got past Busch and silenced the Brickyard Battalion who saw the shellacking happen right in their end.
Eamon Zayed had the best chance of the night for the Eleven. The combination of a great ball and his cut through the Miami defense found him one on one with Miami FC keeper Mario Daniel Vega. Zayed played a soft one earmarked for the back post but a dazzling toe save by Vega kept the Eleven off the score sheet.
Early in the second half Craig Henderson would play an excellent through-ball for Ben Speas who cut his way through the Miami defense like a warm knife through butter. Speas was met by a charging Vega who kept the ball in front of him not allowing Speas to get a clean shot. The Eleven would find themselves with one more good chance on the evening as they buzzed around Miami’s technical area. The ball would eventually fall for David Goldsmith who just couldn’t get enough on it and Vega made a diving save to keep the clean sheet.
With the win, The Miami F.C. clinched first place in the combined table which guarantees them home field advantage throughout the NASL playoffs. The fall championship is still on the table as Miami and San Francisco are tied at 26 points through thirteen games. There is one meeting left between the two clubs which would decide the fate of the fall campaign at a date to be determined.
The loss for the Indy Eleven ends their chances at the post season joining the likes of Puerto Rico F.C. and F.C. Edmonton. San Francisco has all but clinched the second seed earning them home field advantage for the semi-final round. The real showdown will end up being between the Jacksonville Armada and the New York Cosmos who both have 38 points with three games to play. Both clubs will face each other on October 22nd in Jacksonville which could be the deciding match for fourth place.
Photo courtesy Indy Eleven