Miami FC’s unbeaten streak appeared to be on the ropes after falling behind by two goals at halftime against the Charlotte Independence on the road last weekend. But the boys in Blue and Orange once again showed their resilience, clawing back and earning a 2-2 draw and leaving with a hard-earned road point.
Head Coach Paul Dalglish was voted the USL Championship’s Coach of the Month after leading the Blue and Orange to an undefeated August that included four victories in six matches. Can they carry that momentum in September?
Now Miami travels to the Volunteer State for a cross-divisional matchup against Memphis 901 FC and is hoping to extend its seven-game unbeaten streak.
Know Your Enemy: Memphis 901 FC
Can Memphis 901 FC (6-7-7, 25 pts) find a way to earn their first ever trip to the playoffs? Coached by Ben Pirmann, Memphis find themselves on the fringes of a crowded race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the division.
Memphis is riding high after a dramatic upset victory over the Birmingham Legion thanks to not one, but two stoppage time goals. It was Raul Gonzalez’s bicycle kick in the sixth minute of stoppage time that delivered Memphis their only win in their last seven matches, giving the club a much-needed boost and three crucial points.
Keep an eye on forward Kyle Murphy, who leads Memphis with 11 goals this season. The team often lives or dies on Murphy, who accounts for more than half of 901 FC’s total goals scored this season (21) and wreaks havoc in the box.
On the whole, however, Memphis’s offense hasn’t been very efficient, ranking second to last in the Championship with an 11% conversion rate. It’s notable that Saturday’s win over Birmingham was the first time the club scored three goals in one game all season. But Memphis has looked better in its past few matches, creating more scoring chances… but can the club take advantage of those chances moving forward?
Memphis’s defense, led by defender Zach Carroll, has set the tone for the club this season. They’ve been a hard team to score against, allowing just 26 goals through 20 games this season.
Keys To A Miami Victory
Miami’s attacking duo Billy Forbes and Cristiano François have really emerged as two of the top scoring threats in the USL Championship over the past few weeks.
Francois scored the equalizer against Charlotte last weekend and Forbes has scored three goals in Miami’s last five matches. With Ariel Martinez potentially out again due to injury, Miami will need the pair to stay hot in Memphis and put pressure on Memphis’s tough back line.
Miami defense will also need to zero in on Memphis’s Kyle Murphy and keep him bottled up. When he scores, it’s usually a long night for whoever is playing against Memphis.
And again, Miami has been playing from behind quite a few times this season. It would be nice to see Miami put together a solid and consistent 90 minutes, especially against a Memphis team that will be desperate to pick up three points at home and stay in the playoff race.
Miami has shown its dominance playing in the friendly confines of FIU Stadium, but they have been a little shakier on the road this season. In their last five road matches, Miami has only picked up one victory. And Memphis will be a tough test to pass.
But with some of Miami’s key playmakers returning from international duty, including Speedy Williams and Lamar Walker, I predict Miami will come out with a little fire in the belly after a slow start last week and come back home with a victory to keep pace with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division.
Miami FC 3 – Memphis 901 FC 2
WHO: Miami FC (11-6-5, 38 points) vs. Memphis 901 FC (6-7-7, 25 pts)
WHEN: Saturday, September 11 // 8:00 pm EST
WHERE: AutoZone Park (Memphis, TN)
- Miami FC – None
- Memphis 901 FC – None