The season that just doesn’t want to end continues. Magic City soccer fans are going to be treated to at least one more match of significant importance Saturday as The Miami FC 2 take on the Rangers of Little Rock, Arkansas. In a season that has bloomed in the darkest of skies, Miami has a unique ability to win their second NPSL title of the season and earn a place in the national finals.
Miami enters the South Region title match with a seven game winning streak that dates back to June. While the results haven’t been decisive in the key matches, the professional experience has showed to be enough to keep this team moving through. The match against Atlanta proved that manager Paul Dalglish was unafraid to stick to his tactics and rest players. His tactics may have well paid off as the Blues have an extra days rest and Little Rock has had to endure one heck of a commute.
The Little Rock Rangers have won the hearts of their hometown after defeating the Laredo Heat in the second half of extra-time. Going into the match an underdog, Rangers vanquished any hope for a perfect season for the team from the border. If Miami’s seven game winning streak is impressive, perhaps the amateur Arkansas squad boasting a seven game winning streak of their own is far more impressive. So impressive for the heartland city, that the team was able to raise more than $20,000 in less than 24 hours to fund the trip to the magic city.
Keys To A Miami Victory:
As Tyler Ruthven so eloquently stated after the win against Atlanta, it’s safe to say Miami has absolutely zero knowledge on this Rangers club. While that could be the honest truth, we assume that the Miami FC coaching staff have at least watched the last two Rangers matches, just to get a feel of their opposition. As they did against Laredo, Little Rock will likely look to sit back and absorb pressure and hope for an opportunity to strike back on a counter.
Miami has proven to be vulnerable over the season against teams that have sat back and pounced at an opportunity to counter. Goalkeeper Mario Daniel Vega has made outstanding saves often after each defensive breakdown, allowing Miami to maintain their winning ways. The Blues must stay responsible in their own end of the pitch to not allow Little Rock any opportunities off stupid mistakes. Vega has never been the most accurate distributor of the ball, but showed no signs of gaffes after the mistake made against Jacksonville in the Sunshine Conference final.
As for the attack, Miami’s firepower will likely go untamed until a possible NPSL national title match. Kris Tyrpak and Dario Suarez have caused havoc on the wings against other amateur defenses. Don Smart will likely miss his third straight match with a lower body injury, and luckily Sean McFarlane has proven to be an amazing understudy. Expect nothing less on Saturday from the wingers while getting support from fullbacks Tyler Polak and McFarlane.
Unfortunately for Little Rock coming into this match off a long commute and two straight games going a full 120 minutes will be hard to overcome. Miami’s pace and tactical ability will be the deciding factor. If Miami are to score an early goal, expect Jaime Chavez to open the floodgates in a match that can prove that teams like Miami should not be playing in a 4th division league. While the match may be a commemoration of the Little Rock season, the Blues will look to hopefully lock the second seed in the national tournament.
Miami FC 4 – 0 Little Rock Rangers
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