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.
Miami FC 2 have found themselves back in the thick of things with regards to the NPSL Sunshine Conference. Despite not earning a victory in four matches against the other two front runners, Miami has dominated the competition that never stood a chance on paper. It was easy to write off the NPSL season as soon as Miami dropped a 1-0 loss to Jacksonville in early June, yet, recent losses by the Armada and injury woes for United have given the Blues a second lease on life.
Naples United have proven not to be pushovers in their sophomore NPSL campaign. While last season found them bringing up the rear, Naples has battled back to the fourth spot on the table with four games remaining. Naples is mathematically in the chase and would need to earn four victories against Miami and the Armada to bypass United. While it’s not plausible, don’t tell Naples it’s not possible as they come into match on a four-game unbeaten streak earning 10 of a possible 12 points.
Keys to Miami FC 2 Victory:
While Naples has done well against the bottom half of the Sunshine Conference table, they’ve struggled in their two contests against Miami United. While holding United to one goal during their Open Cup run was a pleasant surprise, the boys from the west coast need to summon one heck of a defensive effort in order to keep MFC2 out of their own net.
For Miami FC 2 to steal all three points across Alligator Alley, they will have to apply high pressure early and often. In Miami’s five victories in league play, they’ve outscored their opponents 19-1 and their pace has proven unmatched by the bottom half of the table. Using the professional experience and conditioning that is expected by manager Paul Dalglish should provide MFC2 with an upper hand in this contest.
Wide players like Tyler Polak, Don Smart, Dario Suarez, and Kris Tyrpak can create chaos for Naples. Quick combinations and crosses into the box can give Miami the edge especially when enjoying a height advantage. the physicality and craftiness of working balls from the flanks will be where Miami could succeed in throttling the boys from the retirement community.
Miami knows that they control their own fate coming into this contest. Any slip could easily find them having to battle through an extra match to land a spot in the regional playoffs. While their previous effort against Storm FC could be described as underwhelming at best, goal differential is still key when deciding the top three spots. Getting a leg up on United, who contest their final match on Saturday, will paint a clear picture of what Miami must accomplish to avoid a semi-final contest in the Sunshine Conference.
The Miami FC 2 3 – 1 Naples United