It’s very rare to find derby matches that have shown the strengths and weaknesses of both clubs with so much parity. It’s also very rare to face-off against your cross-town rival three times in one month. That’s what we have here in the 305 and only one club can be crowned as the Magic City’s best. Miami FC and Miami United will clash to settle all the scores.
I mean, come on, not even the likes of HBO, Showtime, or UFC could script a contest quite like this. Act one and two of the #MagicCityClasico ended in draws with each team finding twine. In the first contest, an early second-half goal by Victor Pelae gave United the lead. Jaime Chavez would steal points for Miami FC at the death with a header just moments before play would cease. In the second contest the opposite would occur, with Miami FC finding the back of the net first courtesy of Jeff Michaud. At the end of the first half United, being up a man in the contest, would get on the scoreboard on a set piece.
United has undoubtedly looked like the better team over the two fixtures, even if we disregarded the hour Miami FC played with a man down. Yet, it still seems that the Blues have found a way to get the last laugh on United. Stealing a point in the final moments and managing a result being a man down should give Miami FC confidence heading into Act Three.
Keys To A Miami FC Victory:
In order for the Blues to come away with a win on Wednesday, they will have to look like the club that has shown up for their previous two cup fixtures and not like the one that started the season. There have been some tactical changes made to the way that Miami FC operate around the field when comparing to the NPSL matches. Paul Dalglish has a completely healthy roster at his disposal, which has allowed him to tinker with positioning.
Miami has played two free flowing cup matches where the midfield has had the freedom to roam and find space the defense is granting. Vincenzo Rennella has been the lead creator linking the defense and the attack and allowing Miami to continuously push six to seven men within 25 yards of goal. Finding space down the wings and getting effective services could prove beneficial for the Blues in this match. Miami enjoys a height advantage against United’s defense and it will be up to Jaime Chavez, Kris Tyrpak, and Don Smart to get on the ends of the aerial service.
It won’t matter how many goals the group above slot past the United defense if the Miami FC defense doesn’t show up ready for a battle. United has managed to put 21 goals past their previous four opponents including nine against the NPSL’s Storm FC. Tyler Ruthven and Coy Craft must be aggressive yet composed to keep United’s Hydra-esque group of forwards at bay.
Keys To A Miami United Victory:
Miami United comes into the match in an impressive run of form. In their four previous matches (one cup match), United boast a score line of 21-2. Every cylinder is currently filing for the NPSL veterans as David Ochoa, Sebastian Obregon, and Nicolas Gorobsov have each earned hat tricks over these four matches. Not enough firepower? Tomas Granitto has also slotted three of his own over the previous four matches.
Getting this type of attacking effort will be paramount to United’s success against a group of professionals looking for their redemption story. The creation of Tomas Granitto to find the forwards needs to be perfect as the Miami FC defense is a few difficulty levels higher than their previous opposition. Victor Pelae’s ability to be a target man and hold up the play with his back to the net, can allow United’s other forwards to craft runs and nifty give-and-go opportunities.
With both matches being level at full time, it would seem foolish to predict something that doesn’t go into extra time. Most of the supporters from both clubs feel like this match could easily find its way to penalty kicks. I vehemently disagree with those predictions, anything short of the third round would be an utter disappointment for the Miami FC organization. While they’re not strangers to stunning defeats, I just can’t see this squad coming out and letting United leave with a victory. Our staff feels the result of this match will be:
Drew Housman – Miami FC 3 – 2 Miami United (ET)
Abel Iraola – Miami FC 3 – 2 Miami United (ET)
Matthew Bunch – Miami FC 3 – 1 Miami United (FT)
I believe that Miami will open with a two-goal advantage and allow United to get one back in the second half. Miami FC will hang on despite United’s best efforts in a nail biter that has Miami FC advancing on a road-trip to winner of the Jacksonville Armada/Tampa Bay Rowdies match by a score of 2-1.
Tickets are still available for the 2nd round U.S. Open Cup Match through Miami FC’s Website. Kickoff is schedueld for 7PM at FIU Soccer Stadium. Don’t miss out on the final edition of the #MagicCityClasico where the winner will be crowned “Kings of Miami”.
Have a difference in opinion? Think Miami FC routes United? Think United walks away stunning the NASL exiles? Tell us on twitter how you think this match will end @MagicCitySoccer.