It had to feel good in the Miami FC locker room last Saturday after the club defeated Charlotte. It was the their first win in almost a month, snapping a two-game losing skid in the process. Plus, it gave the club some much-needed momentum heading into a big month for the Orange and Blue.
In just a few weeks, Miami FC will welcome fans back in the stands for the first time this season at Riccardo Silva Stadium. Everyone has July 17’s match against Tampa Bay circled on their calendars. But the team has three matches before then, starting with Friday’s showdown with the New York Red Bulls II. Can Miami put together a win streak and build some excitement heading into July 17?
Know Your Enemy: New York Red Bulls II
The New York Red Bulls II (2-6-2, 8 pts) are coming into Friday’s match on a cold spell. They’ve lost four of their past five matches, including a 7-0 shellacking at the hands of Hartford Athletic on June 5.
In their lone meeting so far this season, Miami edged out the “Baby Bulls” in a 1-0 victory on May 14 at MSU Soccer Park. Speedy Williams scored the lone goal for Miami in the 15th minute of the match and goalkeeper Connor Sparrow kept New York off the score sheet.
Miami’s defense will need to keep an eye on forward Jeremy Rafanello. The 21-year-old scored twice and tallied an assist in New York’s 3-1 win over Charlotte on June 16. Defender Mandela Egbo is also a scoring threat–he leads Red Bulls II with three goals this season.
Keys To A Miami Victory
We know we sound like a broken record at this point, but Miami FC’s offense desperately needs a spark. The club is averaging 1.2 goals per game this season and hasn’t scored more than two goals in a match all season.
Playing against NYRBII might be the remedy to that problem. New York has conceded the second most goals (22) in the USL Championship so far this season. Even if you take away the seven goals scored by Hartford, they’re still in the Top 10 in that category.
Amazingly, Miami FC doesn’t have a single multi-goal scorer through 10 games this season (10 players have tallied a goal apiece). This could be a golden opportunity for any one of Miami’s attackers to break through with a big game. Will it be a forward like Billy Forbes or Ariel Martinez? Or maybe the scoring will come from the midfield from someone like Speedy Williams?
And with a home match against Tampa on Wednesday, July 7, Miami needs to be careful not to look past this contest.
This is a must-win match for Miami FC. The Atlantic Division’s playoff race is crowded, and Miami has already fallen behind some clubs with a handful of games in hand. In order to keep pace with the rest of the competition, Miami needs to earn three points against the teams below them in the standings. That includes NYRBII.
We keep waiting for Miami’s offense to shine through, and I think this could be the week it finally happens. After a big win against Charlotte and getting to face a New York team that tends to give up lots of goals, I’m willing to bet that this will
Miami FC 3 – NYRBII 1
WHO: Miami FC (4-5-1, 13 pts) vs. New York Red Bulls II (2-6-2, 8 pts)
WHEN: Friday, July 2 // 7:00 pm EST
WHERE: MSU Park (Montclair, NJ)
- Miami FC – None
- NYRBII – None