The Miami FC got the start it wanted Friday night, but a strong opening 10 minutes was not nearly enough. Two Charleston Battery goals sealed the Orange and Blue’s fate, sending the club to its second defeat in the month of June.
The star of the show early on for The Miami FC was Lamar Walker, who nearly scored in the fifth minute with an audacious right-footed attempt from outside the box that was saved only by the fingertips of Battery keeper Joe Kuzminsky. The shot-stopper had no reaction in the seventh minute, however, when walker again provided the cheek and scored on a low-running free kick that evaded the touch of every Battery defender.
7′ – MIAMI FC GOAL!
Lamar Walker makes it 1-0 off a low-driven free kick. pic.twitter.com/vQG1wVtwOo
— The Miami FC (@TheMiamiFC) June 18, 2021
Charleston cancelled out Miami’s strong start, however. Charleston would tie, then take the lead, on two goals that were aesthetically pleasing yet perhaps too easy for coach Paul Dalgish’s liking.
Forward Zeiko Lewis scored the first Charleston goal in minute 30. The feed from Burke Fahling was spot-on, but the turn-and-fire scissor-kick from Lewis was the highlight. The defense from Luca Antonelli allowed just too much space for the finish.
Let’s take another look at that sensational finish from Zeiko Lewis with Diamonds Direct replay ⚽️
— Charleston Battery (@Chas_Battery) June 18, 2021
Bunting Beats Blues
Joel Bunning’s winning goal was the result of beautiful cross passing and just too much time. Angelo Kelly worked past Miami’s Junior Palacios, then glided past Antonelli (who was screened by Lewis) and fed across to AJ Paterson on the other side of goal. Miami keeper Connor Sparrow saved Paterson’s shot, but it deflected directly into the path of Bunning. Bunning, on his first start for his hometown club, was able to tuck it away and claim the glory.
✅ First career start
✅ First career goal
Let’s take another look at the Charleston native’s breakthrough with a Diamonds Direct replay! Angelo finds AJ inside the box, and then Paterson assists Joel to send the ball home! pic.twitter.com/fB0xxoD9I3
— Charleston Battery (@Chas_Battery) June 19, 2021
The loss is the second in three matches for The Miami FC, and currently has the club on the outside looking in on the USL Championship Eastern Conference Atlantic Division standings. With the game Friday night, the club has now played each of its Atlantic Division rivals one time. Miami’s current points-per-game pace only puts it above current cellar dwellers New York Red Bulls II and Loudoun United FC.
The club won’t have much time to regroup, as it welcomes Birmingham Legion FC to Riccardo Silva Stadium for a Magic City Derby on Wed., June 23 at 8 p.m. The Legion handily defeated Miami last year, 4-0.