Miami FC was given a gift on Saturday by Naples United when they took down Jacksonville at home. While the Miami faithful look at the result as a gift from the retirement community crew, Naples is out to make this story about themselves, and they technically control their own fate. The NPSL Sunshine Conference has proven to be full of surprises. Miami FC can’t afford any surprises in the final two matches of the season.
You can call it luck, experience or just downright perseverance, but the Blues have found a way. MFC2 have won five of their last six and managed to find ways to win games in matches where they had no business stealing all three points. Flashback to last Wednesday, an 87th minute blast from Mason Trafford stole all three and put an obstacle in the way of Naples post season dreams. How does that pertain to the first sentence in the paragraph? It was Trafford’s first goal in a Miami FC shirt.
Naples have earned points in five of their last six matches and also control their own destiny with regards to the Sunshine Conference playoffs. For Naples, a win in this contest will see them momentarily jump the Armada for the third and final spot. Even if Jacksonville take care of business in Broward County on Wednesday, the final fixture will have these two teams square off in a winner take all showdown. Naples’ structure has proven to stifle the conference heavy weights holding both Miami clubs to one goal in at least one fixture.
Keys To A Miami FC 2 Victory:
Miami missed various chances during last weeks game to bury Naples early. It’s easy to say that the Blues cannot afford to allow the west coast club to linger. After missing a penalty kick in the first half it took all that Miami could muster to get one in the back of the net. With Naples playing five across the backline, Miami’s midfield will have to pull Naples Centrebacks in order to create space for Jaime Chavez.
If a midfielder or a winger can entice a Naples centreback to bite on a run, an overlapping run could open just enough space for one of Miami’s strikers to capitalize. There’s no doubt that the Blues patience will be tested as Naples will look to counter and frustrate Miami at every turn. Expect to see a Russian like effort of keeping eleven men behind the ball.
Keeping the game out wide will play right into the hands of Naples as they will undoubtedly look to keep Don Smart and Kris Tyrpak as far away from the target as possible. The fifth defender in the area will make crosses difficult unless a magical ball finds it’s way in the area. One goal could open the floodgates here for Miami FC 2, getting the first early and destroying the confidence this Naples side will come into the game with is crucial to a victory.
The players and the staff know they are in the driver’s seat for the first time in the NPSL Sunshine Conference. Given the NPSL tiebreakers, head-to-head fixtures matter more than goal differential. Miami will remain in the driver’s seat even with a draw, however, a win here will go a long way to assuring home field advantage in the Sunshine Conference Playoff Final.
Miami FC 2 – 1 Naples United
Tickets are still available for Tuesday night’s clash against Naples. Click here to get your tickets today!