While many eyes will be focused on Miami United in Hialeah, a match important to South Florida soccer watchers will be taking place upstate, as The Miami FC 2 travels to Jacksonville to take on the Armada.
Heading into the season, it was clear the heavyweights in the National Premier Soccer League’s Sunshine Conference would be United, FC 2 and Armada. The results of the first month of the season have borne that out. While all three teams have played a different number of games, all three squads lead the Sunshine table in both total points and points per game.
After a sluggish start where Miami FC earned three consecutive draws against the aforementioned teams, the team has responded with three consecutive wins (Palm Beach United, Storm FC and Boca Raton. Now will be a solid test to see if those games were Miami FC feasting on lesser competition or if the quality of performances could see Miami FC approach the top of the table.
If Jaime Chavez has anything to say about it, the answer will be option two. Just like last season, he has come alive in the last few games, putting four goals past goalies in his last two games. His two braces indicate a return to form is underway.
Jacksonville, which lost a crushing match to Miami United in the U.S. Open Cup and then took until the dying moments to put away bottom-of-the-table Storm FC, will be hoping to find its form and deliver a statement of intent to Miami, both FC and United.
Keys To Miami FC 2 Victory:
In their previous match, the Armada did a fantastic job of negating Miami from getting anything from the long diagonal balls into the wings. Miami FC 2 went down early as a result of a goal that should been ruled off-sides, and the Armada were able to absorb the Miami pressure for the better part of the match. It wasn’t until a build up in play down the heart of the pitch, that Ariel Martinez was able to equalize for Miami.
With Miami FC 2’s defense playing much better in their previous two matches, this match will not be decided on their end of the field. The Blues must be able to dissect the Armada midfield with quick passes in order to create enough chaos to free Jaime Chavez for his opportunities at goal. The Armada defense is superior to most of the Sunshine Conference, long balls over the top and into wingers Don Smart and Kris Tyrpak won’t be nearly enough to get Miami to the finish line. While that tactic worked great against Storm FC and Boca Raton FC, Jacksonville is a different breed.
Miami FC2 2 – 1 Jacksonville Armada
The match is available for broadcast tonight courtesy of the Jacksonville Armada Sports Network. Click here to watch tonight’s contest!
Omar Moubayed contributed to this preview