In a forgettable night at Riccardo Silva Stadium, Miami FC suffered a crushing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Birmingham Legion.
The match was a completely different proposition to the 2-1 victory over Atlanta at the weekend. Legion are top of Group G and the 4th best team in the combined Eastern Conference standings. In the first ten minutes of the game you could see they were a well-prepared side who like to play the ball.
Nevertheless Miami looked comfortable after absorbing a little early pressure. They grew into the game up to the hydration break and it looked like a fascinating hour of soccer was in front of us. It was, but for all the wrong reasons.
FC shipped three goals in ten minutes before half time. If you conceded one of these goals in a game you wouldn’t be happy. All were preventable and highlight the current weaknesses in Miami FC’s game. The fourth goal after half time was comical, but if you play soccer long enough your team will concede a goal like that. The damage had already been done and it’s pointless to bring up individual errors. A 4-0 loss equals Miami FC’s worst ever performance on the pitch. The previous four goal hammering had been at the hands of the Cosmos in the 2016 NASL fall season. This is a performance that the squad have to accept responsibility for as a whole. A point made by Paul Dalglish himself in his post game interview.
The statistics paint a grim picture. Miami FC controlled 69% of possession, completed 374 of 441 attempted passes to the opponents 151 from 194 but managed just two shots on target compared to Legion’s seven. There is much work to do to fix Miami’s tepid attack and calamitous defense. But these stats prove there is at least the bedrock of technique to build upon. It is worth noting that the players had clearly been asked to deliver a response in the half time team talk and they did do that. The second half performance showed much more commitment than the first.
Five games remain for Miami FC in 2020. With this mauling behind them all anyone can ask for is for the team to pick themselves up, compete in every minute of the upcoming encounters and try to sign off a difficult 2020 with a few good performances and hopefully a win or two. It will be a long winter but 2020 has been a valuable lesson. It can only be hoped it has been learned when 2021 comes around.
Miami FC will travel to Charleston Battery next. Kick off 6pm, Sunday 20th live on ESPN+.