You would think that with back to back #MagicCityClasico fixtures that it would begin to lose some of its luster or that the meaning would become just a bit less. Guess again. With both clubs eager to lace up their boots for the fifth installment of this derby, both sides have something to provide. Miami United will look to avenge their first ever defeat at the hands of Miami FC. For FC, making life as difficult as possible for United and damaging their chances at a second place finish in the sunshine conference in the task.
Before we preview the match, let’s take a brief look at what worked and what didn’t work for both clubs (click here for last week’s recap). Miami United deployed three at the back while attempting to utilize wingbacks to activate down the flanks. Despite not allowing a goal from within the box, Miami FC began to get chances aplenty in the final 25 minutes of the match. United’s centrebacks just could not keep up with the vision and pace of Mohamed Thiaw and Dylan Mares. The wingbacks were nullified all night by Miami’s defense and any kind of link up in play was stifled by Lance Rozeboom.
Miami FC played the match without three of their best players. Ariel Martinez, John Neeskens, and Lloyd Sam all sat out of the previous contest. FC will benefit if all three can start the match and hit the ground running early on. Neeskens would provide a bit of an upgrade at the back from Markey and Sam entering the attacking end of the pitch would cause nightmares for United’s defense alongside Dario Suarez and Thiaw. Add Dylan Mares unlocking the midfield and Miami could win by a landslide.
Keys To A Miami FC Victory
Wash, Rinse, Repeat. For Miami FC to continue their winning streak in NPSL play they must do their best to replicate the performance from last week. Mares was constantly shadowed in the midfield and was limited in touches in the early stages of the match. Miami FC would love to have their captain more involved from the whistle forcing United to chase and work to clog the passing lanes. With Kcira’s injury, Marco Franco will likely slot in at left back, joining Mares and Suarez on the left side of the pitch.
If Sam is to enter the squad on Saturday, Thiaw must find a way to play Sam into space. Thiaw was one the best distributor’s for FC during act four of the clasico and with more attacking prowess at his disposal expect to find his name tallying up assists from the number nine spot. United will have a difficult time controlling and man marking the runs coming in from all different angles so picking the correct angle and weight will be key to keeping United on the backfoot all night.
Keys To A Miami United Victory
Scrap last weeks game plan. This is a new version of Miami FC and everything United has learned from the three matches in 2018 needs to be tossed into the nearest garbage bin. United attempted to keep up their physical style of play in an effort to rattle FC. In the first fifteen minutes, the tactics almost proved fruitful as the orange & blue found themselves shaky at the back. However, United’s overzealous attempts at challenges put the pink & black out of position at times.
There is no doubt that former Miami United midfielder Tomas Granitto was a target against his old club, as United made sure to remind the new FC addition of their presence all match long. United must forget about his Olimpico and the bad blood that exists. The best remedy is revenge and splitting the season series. In order to do so, Nicolas Micoli must press FC’s backline all night long and force them into a mistake. United must deploy in a 4-3-3 to command FC’s defense respect and now allow them to split out into the flanks and keep Rozeboom working deep in his zone all night.
The loss of David Ochoa and the dynamic attacking group of United’s 2018 roster was noticeable last weekend. United just don’t seem to have the firepower in their arsenal that they had a year ago. United’s defense must continue to force Miami FC to take chances from the outside to have any chance at a victory. However, I just don’t believe there is enough defensive talent to keep the prolific Miami FC attack at bay. United was lucky to drop the first match by only two. If United do not get on the board first in their debut at Ronald L Book Stadium, it’ll be a long night for United supporters.
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