Miami FC Stun Miami United 3-2

Miami FC Celebrate After Defeating Miami United To Earn The NPSL Sunshine Conference Trophy

In a game reminiscent to a cup final, the two Miami clubs put on the best match in the 2019 NPSL season. Miami FC hosted their cross-town rival at Barry University on Saturday night. United seemingly had the match in the bag come half-time despite FC taking the early lead. The second half was a remarkable display of soccer by both teams but with the Orange and Blue getting the last laugh.

Miami United came into the match playing with house money. After defeating Naples United when it mattered on Wednesday, the Pink and Black were keen to shock the NPSL. Unfortunately, United would have to play this match without their star left-back Max Schenfeld and first choice keeper Peterson Occenat. Occenat was still serving a suspension for an abuse of an official in the final regular-season match at Naples. Schenfeld was serving a suspension due to being thrown out of the semi-final.

Miami FC would face similar problems at left back coming into the match. Robert Baggio Kcira tore his ACL for a second time just minutes into the first Magic City Clasico of the season. John Neeskens has been ruled out for the remainder of the NPSL season with an injury sustained against Naples. Jalen Markey filled in at left-back in the semi-finals but was quickly the target of Ferdinando De Matthaeis.

First Half

This match started with both sides looking to find an early goal and swing the momentum in their favor. In the first moments of the match, United would make their statement earning a corner kick in the opening minutes. The corner would be the first of seven they would earn in the first 45 minutes. The ensuing shot would go off target.

In the 8th minute, after a long ball played into the box by the Orange and Blue and assistant referee would call the main official over for a conversation. The assistant referee judged the ball was played by the hand of Fuenmayor and awarded Miami FC a penalty.

Ariel Martinez would be forced to wait about two minutes before taking the penalty. The Magic City Mago would show his intestinal fortitude by converting a panenka. Omar Estrada would dive to his left leaving the middle of the net open for the chip and Miami’s first goal of the night.

United would come roaring back, eager to equalize the match as quickly as possible. United would keep their foot on the gas for the next twenty-plus minutes. In the 22nd minute, United almost equalized as Matheus Gotler created an excellent opportunity from nothing. The crafty midfielder ripped a contested shot from range forcing Pais to parry it off the crossbar.

United would find their equalizer in the 34th minute. Off their sixth corner of the half, Bruno Camacho would find the back of the net with a glancing header. Throughout their spell of constant possession, Bryan Perea would cause havoc for Jalen Markey. Perea haunted the substitute left back and was the vocal point of all United counets.

In the 37th minute, Perea would get fed again on the left flank from an aerial ball. Perea would corral the outlet and charge into the penalty area. His cross would go across the face of goal and find Shamar Shelton who finished it to give United the 2-1 lead.

Paul Dalglish’s side would have little answers headed into the half. Miami FC looked stunned as they walked off the pitch as the Pink and Black sent them to the locker room down a goal searching for answers.

Second Half

If there were ever a game that could be characterized as a game of two halves it would be this one. Resuming play, United controlled the first three minutes of the second half earning a corner but not converting. Flashes of life for the Miami FC would come around minute fifty. The midfield would find all three forward, Thiaw, Suarez, and Gonzalez streaking forward but they’d be just offside.

The half-time substitution of Markey for Othello Bah would provide dividends early. The left side was shut down and forced Perea to play more toward the middle of the pitch.

In the 57th minute, Miami FC would take a page out of the United playbook and strike on a counter.  Just one minute after Miguel Gonzalez narrowly missed equalizing the match Ariel Martinez would give Miami an equalizer. Thiaw would get past his marker on the right hand side and find Dylan Mares in close quarters. Mares was able to feed Martinez at the top of the box and his shot would beat Estrada again.

Unfortunately, the United midfield would begin to show cracks after the 64th minute injury to captain Ezequiel Tejera. Tejera would suffer a lower body injury and unable to continue, replaced by former Miami FC midfielder Juan Gonzalez. Almost immediately, FC would begin to slash through United’s midfield.

In the 67th minute, Dylan Mares would charge up the heart of the field before playing forward to Ariel Martinez. Martinez would be pace for pace with Miguel Gonzalez who darted towards the penalty spot as Martinez drifted right. Martinez laid off for Gonzalez allowing the forward to get back on the score-sheet for the first time in three matches.

The final twenty minutes either felt like an eternity or a New York minute depending on your allegiance. United would make multiple attacking substitutions including bringing on Nicolas Micoli and Darryl Gordon. The Pink and Black had numerous good looks but Miami FC shut the door at every turn. Unable to break down the backline, United began to settle for rushed efforts that either ended up off-target or no test for Mark Pais.

Miami would make their second change of the night in the 90th minute after Ariel Martinez went down in midfield. Brian James replaced Martinez, getting his first action in quite some time. The midfielder would swarm United attackers helping the defensive line in the final moments of the match. Unfortunately, the tension would boil over in the 98th minute as Tomas Granitto was fouled by Perea. Perea would stand over Granitto with Lance Rozeboom paces away. Rozeboom pushed the winger off his former teammate and then Perea retaliated shoving both Rozeboom and Granitto.

Cooler heads would prevail as we proceed into the ninth minute of stoppage time. The referee would choose not to discipline any of the players and still allow United one final effort which was dispelled by the Orange and Blue.

The Road Ahead

Miami FC Host Chattanooga FC In the NPSL South Region Semi-Finals
Miami FC Host Chattanooga FC In the NPSL South Region Semi-Finals

After the result in the Southeast Conference, Miami FC will host NPSL heavyweights Chattanooga FC. The South Region Semi-Final will take place on Tuesday July 16th at Barry University. You can purchase your tickets by clicking here or calling 1-844-MIAMIFC. The winner of that contest will take on the winner of Tulsa vs Fort Worth. Tulsa dominated play in the Heartland Conference as the only team to finish over .500%. The Vaqueros of Fort Worth have stunned the Lone Star Conference by shocking Denton and Midland-Odessa.

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