Month: June 2018

NPSL Sunshine Conference: Judgment Days

The fight for the NPSL Sunshine Conference will be an intense one. Graphic via The Miami FC 2.

It’s crunch time in the NPSL Sunshine Conference as the seven teams in the division head into some vital games that will help shape the final season standings.

How do the playoffs work? What’s at stake? Well the top three get in. On July 11th the semi final will take place between 2nd and 3rd in the table at the ground of the higher placed team. The winner of that game goes on to the final game against 1st at their place on Saturday, July 14.

Win that game, you’re Sunshine Conference champ and move on to the South Region playoffs. This takes the form of a semi final and final as well. The Sunshine Conference champion goes up against the winner of the Southeast Conference playoff on July 17th. Which is a Tuesday. Winner of that game advances to the South Region playoff final versus whoever won the game between the Lone Star and Heartland Conference champs on July 21. Confused? Yeah. I was too. It’s all broken down here. http://www.npsl.com/playoffs

But let’s concentrate on the Sunshine Conference. It looks like this right now.

NPSL Table 29-JUN-2018

THE MIAMI FC 2

Miami FC 2 went three points clear at the top, with 21 points in total, after a narrow win in Naples in their last game. Incredibly, they are not even guaranteed a playoff spot as 4th place Naples United can finish on 22 points if they win their three remaining games. Miami FC 2 have a bye this weekend but will be guaranteed a playoff spot without kicking a ball if Miami United lose their last game away at Palm Beach United and Jacksonville Armada win on the road in Naples.

FC have two games remaining, both at home, against Naples United on July 3rd and Boca Raton on July 7th. One win guarantees a top two finish but they need to win both and hope the Armada drop points somewhere to end up in top spot. The team’s form looks good, they’ve won six of their last seven games with the only loss coming on the road to the Armada back on June 6th. FC should finish first or second, but must keep getting points on the board to keep the pressure on Jacksonville.

FORM: WLWWW
REMAINING GAMES: vs Naples United (July 3, 7pm), vs Boca Raton (July 7, 7pm)

JACKSONVILLE ARMADA

Up the I-95 in the Bold City the Jacksonville Armada have been getting the job done too. They are three points behind FC with a game in hand but the ace up their sleeves is that if they finish level on points with Miami they are guaranteed to finish 1st as they hold the upper hand on the head-to-head between the two teams (One win, one draw). That’s the first tiebreaker. It can’t come down to goal difference.

The pressure’s on the Armada this weekend. They travel to Naples United on Saturday and the game is a must win if they want to keep their destiny in their own hands. Since beating Miami the Fleet’s form has been up and down. After that game they lost 4-2 in Palm Beach, tied themselves up in Hialeah 1-1 against United, blitzed Boca 7-0 and drew 0-0 with United at home. In their last game they got their noses by Palm Beach 3-2 at home.

Their other two games are away at Storm FC on July 4th and at home to Naples on Saturday 7th. All these games are winnable for Jacksonville, but they must stay perfect to give themselves the best possible chance of finishing first.

FORM: LDWDW
REMAINING GAMES: @ Naples United (June 30, 5:00pm), @ Storm FC (July 4, 2:30PM), vs Naples United (July 7, 7:30pm)

MIAMI UNITED

Miami United have suffered a severe case of cup hangover and their league campaign has gone totally off the rails. They’ve simply drawn too many games and are out of real contention for 1st place. This weekend is their final game and it’s a good job they are cup specialists because this game is a cup final. They are up against Palm Beach United on the road. PBU have taken the most points off the top three and got a 2-1 win when they played United in Hialeah. There is no chance of Palm Beach rolling over for them as PBU must win this game to keep their own playoff hopes alive.

Since trashing Storm FC 9-0 on May 12 the goals have dried up for United. Indeed if you remove Storm from the equation they haven’t managed more than one goal a game since May 5th. Palm Beach however are good going forward. They’ve scored more goals than the Armada in the same number of games. It’s a must win match up for both teams and should be a cracker. You’d bet on United coming 3rd in the table, but a loss on Saturday would change that thinking.

FORM: WDDWD
REMAINING GAMES: @ Palm Beach United (June 30, 7pm)

THE REST

Although they are 4th and 5th, both Naples United and Palm Beach United will have an eye on beating Miami United to 3rd spot. Both teams have motivation to rip up scripts on Saturday. Naples United need to beat Jacksonville to give themselves a slim hope at 3rd. If they lose, they’re done.

They have a big hand in how the top of the table plays out as their last three games are all against Jacksonville and Miami. Even if three wins is a pretty impossible task they’ll certainly be down to grinding out a point or two to try to finish above PBU if Palm Beach falter.

Palm Beach United cannot be discounted and have a much better shot at 3rd than Naples. If they manage a win against Miami United their last two games are winnable road trips, Boca and then Storm FC. Three wins in their last three games would put them on 21 points and get them in the playoffs, unless Naples somehow also manage three wins. They do have half a chance.

NAPLES UNITED FORM: WDWWL
REMAINING GAMES: vs Jax Armada (June 30, 5pm), @ Miami FC 2 (July 3, 7PM), @ Jax Armada (July 7, 7:30PM)

PALM BEACH UNITED FORM: LLWWL
REMAINING GAMES: vs Miami United (June 30, 7pm), @ Boca Raton (July 3, 7PM), @ Storm FC (July 7, 6pm)

The Miami FC 2 edge Naples United in nail-biter

Naples United hosts The Miami FC 2 at Golden Gate High School on June 28, 2018. Photo by Lee Ifans.

 

If The Miami FC 2 have learned anything from this season’s NPSL Sunshine Conference escapade it is that you cannot underestimate teams and take games for granted. After the hugely important scoreless draw between Jacksonville Armada and Miami United on Saturday, Miami knew a win in Naples would put them firmly in command in the NPSL Sunshine Conference. But this would be no straightforward evening’s work. Naples United are NPSL stalwarts and they always serve as competitive opponents. After an hour’s rain delay while the usual pre-match thunderstorm moved off into Alligator Alley, the stage was set for an important and intriguing encounter. The first between these two clubs.

Que ha pasado con el equipo MLS de David Beckham?

Fútbol Miami MLS is attempting to bring Major League Soccer to Miami. Graphic courtesy Fútbol Miami MLS.

Han pasado ya cuatro años desde que David Beckham anunció su intención de fichar un nuevo equipo de la MLS en Miami, opción que se le había otorgado en 2007 cuando llegó a la liga estadounidense. 

Desde entonces han salido rumores, falsos comienzos, consideraciones de varios sitios para un nuevo estadio y, hasta ahora, poca información sólida. Esto es lo que sabemos.

Miami FC v Naples United: Previewing The Match

It’s amazing to think that we are over two months into the soccer season and yet just weeks away from its end here in the Magic City. Without a pro division club in South Florida, all of Miami’s prominent teams will wrap up their season in the month of July (except APSL/college). Thankfully we have a playoff race to discuss to keep our minds off the long off-season ahead with regards to the professional game in town. 

Fútbol Miami MLS owner Jorge Mas hints at July 12 announcement for stadium site

Melreese Golf Course. Photo courtesy Melreese Golf Course website. Fútbol Miami MLS

In a tweet Tuesday night, Fútbol Miami MLS owner Jorge Mas intimated that an announcement on a site for the team’s new stadium would be coming “soon.” However, in a reply to Univision anchor Sandra Peebles, he provided what appeared to be some more details.

Mas tweeted that on the 12th (presumably July 12), there would be more information revealed.

Earlier tonight, Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald reported that Mas would be meeting with Miami-Dade Commissioners next week to discuss plans, including the possibility of a stadium at Melreese.

Jacksonville Armada v Miami United: Previewing The Match

You may have noticed that this website never put out a match recap after Miami FC 2’s win against Storm FC at home on Wednesday. Want to know the reason why? It was incredibly underwhelming. Now enough about Miami FC (for now), the NPSL Sunshine Conference final table will probably be decided based on this one match alone. Miami United travel north to Jacksonville to take on the Armada in a clash that has major ramifications for all three heavyweights. 

Miami FC 2 v Storm FC: Previewing The Match

Miami FC 2

Tonight’s NPSL Sunshine Conference match-up shouldn’t make any supporter of Miami FC nervous. The truth is Storm FC have one point in seven games and have given up 26 more goals than they have scored (1). Realistically there is little to worry about during tonight’s contest as it’s very unlikely that Miami FC will drop points of any kind to Storm. However, this match is incredibly important when it comes to Miami’s standing in the conference table when it comes down to goal differential. 

Miami’s role in John Harkes’ removal and America’s 1998 FIFA World Cup collapse

Steve Sampson John Harkes U.S. Men's National Team

The United States Men’s National Team is currently mired in one of its more humiliating periods in the modern era (failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup). Men in Blazers co-host Roger Bennett thought it would be a good time to reflect on the other calamity since America’s return to the world soccer stage in 1990: The U.S. Men’s National Team’s failure at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. His series, “American Fiasco,” produced with WNYC Studios, looks back at all the ways the U.S. fell short leading up to and during that World Cup campaign. The seven-part podcast, however, offers a small look into how Miami played a small role in John Harkes being removed from the team, a key part of the failure that would arrive in the summer of 1998.

Before the World Cup, many believed the United States was ready to emerge as a potential dark horse to compete in the tournament. However, qualifying proved to be difficult and manager Steve Sampson was dealing with stress and injuries to the squad. Left back Jeff Agoos had been injured in a friendly against Mexico on Feb. 15, 1998. In response to this, Sampson turned to his “Captain for Life” to fill in the gap left by Agoos for the team’s match against The Netherlands at Pro Player Stadium (now Hard Rock Stadium) in Miami Gardens on Feb. 21.

According to Bennett’s interview with Sampson, Harkes was less than thrilled (you can hear Sampson and Harkes themselves describe the situation in full on Episode 5, about 14 minutes in):

“[Harkes] then says to me, ‘I did not come back from England to play as an outside back. I came back to play in the middle of midfield,'” Sampson told Bennett. “And I looked at him, and I said ‘So you’re telling me that you can only play in one position where you want to play, and that your national team coach is asking you to play this role for this game and you’re refusing to do so.’

“I’d never experienced that, in my entire career, a player telling a coach that he wasn’t willing to play in a certain position.”

Harkes had a different perspective, yet agreed he wasn’t fully sold on the idea of playing left back in Miami.

“I thought that he kept saying I didn’t embrace it, and for me, I was like ‘I’m doing my best here,'” Harkes said. “At times, it was his way or the highway. He had taken on this persona that he was the man in charge.”

Harkes played the game as left back, but the damage had been done.

Arthur Newman (5) of The Netherlands controls the ball against United States midfielder Eric Wynalda (11) during an exhibition match at Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens. United States captain John Harkes (6) can be seen on the very right of the image. Photo by Andy Lyons /Allsport
Arthur Newman (5) of The Netherlands controls the ball against United States midfielder Eric Wynalda (11) during an exhibition match at Pro Player Stadium in Miami Gardens. United States captain John Harkes (6) can be seen on the very right of the image. Photo by Andy Lyons /Allsport

Three strikes

Sampson identified three “strikes” that took Harkes from his “Captain for Life” to off the 1998 U.S. World Cup squad. This incident, where Harkes didn’t initially accept the role, was strike one. Strike two was a night out in Brussles that Sampson did not approve of, and strike three was an affair Harkes had with the wife of U.S. teammate Eric Wynalda.

None of this changes the past, of course. However, this additional context about Sampson’s decision makes the 1998 World Cup flameout a little easier to understand. And, of course, Miami had to play a role.

Miami United FC put three past Storm FC to help Sunshine Conference chase

Miami United Storm FC

After a lackluster performance against Boca Raton FC and a draw against conference-leaders Jacksonville Aramada, Miami United FC were looking to get back on the right foot. Enter Storm FC.

Storm FC, a team United had put nine past in their earlier matchup, was just what the doctor ordered, as United scored three at Ted Hendricks Stadium to claim a vital three points in the Sunshine Conference.