It was a disappointing evening for Miami FC at Riccardo Silva Stadium in their second gameweek of USL Championship action. A disjointed performance against Hartford Athletic saw the Orange and Blue beaten 1-0.
With full back János Löbe unavailable for selection following his straight red card in the opener vs Loudoun United, coach Paul Dalglish shuffled Bolu Akinyode into the left back spot. Lamar Walker came into the side on the right wing and Ariel Martinez was moved into a deeper midfield role.
Hartford Athletic lived up to their name early on. They came tearing out of the blocks and had the majority of early possession. When they lost the ball they won it back quickly. Miami FC were pinned back into their own half for much of the opening ten minutes. Though defender Ramon Martin del Campo did manage to get a header on target from a Sean McFarlane long throw.
The visitors were content to congest the midfield to keep Speedy Williams and Ariel Martinez out of the game. That gave Miami FC space to use down the wings. Livewire winger Christiano François beat his man down the left on more than one occasion to create a couple of decent chances but either the final ball was lacking, or the Hartford backline held firm.
However for long periods of the first half Miami struggled to retain quality possession and on occasion gave the ball away cheaply. Hartford had 55% of the ball in the first half and were more accurate in their passing. FC had less possession but put more shots on goal than their opponents, the most dangerous chances coming in a spell towards the end of the half. Hartford keeper Jeff Caldwell having to make a couple of saves.
Walker was withdrawn for Billy Forbes at half time. Again it was Hartford who made the early running in the second half. A good long range effort was kept out by Connor Sparrow. Sadly there was little Sparrow could do to keep out the only goal of the game. It came on the hour as Preston Tabortetaka drifted unchallenged into the FC penalty area and curled a smart finish home.
There was almost an instant response for Miami. Billy Forbes was sent clear with just Caldwell to beat. Forbes rounded the keeper but was caught by a covering defender as he tried to finish the chance off just outside the area. The referee saw no foul. Miami pushed for the equalizer. Martinez crashed a drive just wide from some way out. Speedy Williams had a shot blocked in the area just as 90 minutes came up.
— The Miami FC (@TheMiamiFC) May 9, 2021
The breakthrough wouldn’t come and Hartford took all three points. While Miami probably feel like they should have got something out of this game, taking all three points against all odds in the previous match softens the blow a little. There’s some work to do this week on the training ground. Miami lacked some fluency for parts of the game but that is perhaps to be expected with a new look roster. They also need to find a cutting edge in the final third and start scoring some goals.
Miami FC will get a chance to rebound against NY Red Bulls II on the road. Kick off is 7pm, Friday 14th May. Watch on ESPN+.