It’s hard to imagine the first half of Miami FC’s match against Rio Grande Valley FC last weekend going any better. Unfortunately, it’s also hard to imagine the second half going much worse.
After going into halftime with a 2-0 lead, the wheels fell off. The Orange and Blue surrendered four unanswered goals in the final 45 minutes and lost 4-2 to the visiting Toros. A victory would have pulled Miami within three points of the first-place Tampa Bay Rowdies in an increasingly competitive Atlantic Division.
Instead, Miami FC (3-3-0, 9 points) gears up for an important away match in the Steel City against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday. Pittsburgh sits just two points behind Miami in the standings. If Miami wants to keep pace in the Atlantic, they’ll need to find steal some points on the road.
Know Your Enemy: Pittsburgh Riverhounds
After a rough start to the season, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (2-3-1, 7 points) have turned things around. They have won two of their past three matches, including back-to-back wins against New York Red Bulls II and Loudoun United. And like Miami, they’re also entering Saturday’s match trying to erase the sting of a tough loss to a Western Conference opponent.
The Riverhounds are a streaky club. They were shut out in all three of their losses this season, including in their only two home games. But they put up three goals apiece in their two wins, both on the road.
Miami will need to keep tabs on forwards Russell Cicerone and Alex Dixon. Cicerone leads the club with three goals this season while Dillon has recorded a pair of assists.
Keys To A Miami Victory
Discipline has been an issue for Miami this season. The club has racked up the third most yellow cards in the league (20) and is one of only three teams with multiple red cards (2). An early second half red card on midfielder Bolu Akinyode against RGVFC left Miami down a man, and the Toros made them pay the price. Miami has to cut down on the fouls that have given opponents too many opportunities.
Miami has shown it can get off to a fast start, and a quick goal can go a long way against a Pittsburgh team that has struggled to claw back after falling behind. But it’s in the final 45 minutes of play where Miami has struggled to convert opportunities into goals. The club has only one goal in the second half after six games. That’s a number to keep an eye on as the season goes on.
Miami’s defenders will want to follow Austin’s playbook from last weekend. The Bold only allowed one shot on target against Pittsburgh despite the Riverhounds dominating possession. Keep the ball away from goalkeeper Connor Sparrow and Miami
Miami was missing a handful of key contributors in last week’s loss to RGVFC. They get forward Billy Forbes and midfielder Speedy Williams back, which should be a shot in the arm for Miami’s attack.
After last week’s second half meltdown, Miami should be desperate to make that a distant memory. Expect Miami to come out of the gate swinging and send a message with an early goal or two, putting Pittsburgh back on its heels.
While Pittsburgh has returned to form, Miami has proven time and time again the ability to bounce back and steal a win on the road.
Miami FC 2 – Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1
WHO: Miami FC (3-3-0, 9 pts) vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (2-3-1, 7 pts)
WHEN: Saturday, June 12 // 7:00 pm EST
WHERE: Highmark Stadium (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Miami FC – Bolu Akinyode
- Rio Grande Valley FC – None