South Florida’s oldest running soccer rivalry will soon face off in US Soccer’s oldest tournament. The 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw for open division local qualifiers happened Wednesday morning and FC Kendall and Red Force FC were paired up for a Round 1 game in the Southeast Region on Sept. 23 at Tropical Park.
MADISON, NJ — The Miami FC 2 claimed the 2018 National Premier Soccer League Championship, defeating FC Motown 3-1 at Ranger Field on the campus of Drew University on Saturday night. In front of a Motown record crown that saw over 2100 people attend the final. Motown attempted to flood the midfield as they did often throughout the season.
Miami’s first goal came in the 33rd minute, when Jonny Steele fired a rock into the upper-right hand corner. The corner came from the foot of Dylan Mares who’s outswinger found Steele sitting all alone outside of the technical area. Miami’s lead would be short lived as Motown would be quick to fire back.
Motown would find their equalizer in the 35th minute. Miami has found themselves vulnerable when being indecisive along the back line. Jonny Steele would find himself the next victim of the situation as his errant pass into the midfield was picked up by Motown. The ball was fed over to Dilly Duka who scored his third goal in three straight matches during the NPSL playoffs.
The match turned in the 57th minute, when defender Chris Riordan fouled Jaime Chavez on the edge of the box and picked up a second yellow card. Riordan’s rash challenge would leave Motown a man down, and give Miami their best opportunity of the night. Dylan Mares converted the free kick to the low right-hand corner, and gave Miami a lead it would not relinquish.
Motown would push their numbers forward into the 80th minute with reckless abandon. With their backs against the wall Motown found several chances to equalize, none better than Julius James opportunity in the 76th minute. With numbers pushed forward, the assistant referee saved Motown a few times before Jeffrey Michaud broke free in the 81st minute.
As the final whistle blew, Miami’s vindication story has been written. The former NASL Spring and Fall champion would find themselves again a top another league’s final standings.
This is the first postseason title for The Miami FC as a club, and the first postseason title for any Miami professional soccer team.
FC Miami City came into this match already eliminated from competing for the Southeast Division title. Coming into this match with a 5-6-0 record, FCMC were sitting ten points back of the table leaders with just two matches left to play. In a home finale against IMG academy, the city boys just couldn’t muster enough to provide one last home victory.
Miami United and Jacksonville Armada seemed content to match Gucci Mane’s Lemonade on Wednesday: It was all yellow everything. In a classic NPSL scrappy match that got out of hand, yellows were being tossed around left and right. But Miami United clawed back and drew the match, 1-1.
FC Miami City will begin its PDL Southeast Division season hosting the Lakeland Tropics in Miami on Saturday 6PM at Tropical Park. This will start a 3 match homestand to open the PDL season. The club look to be in top shape after a vigorous pre-season playing NPSL clubs Boca Raton and Miami United. If that competition wasn’t stiff enough, City had to match up against Miami FC in the US Open Cup play-in round. To close the preseason they also faced the U.S. Men’s National U-20 team at Central Broward Regional Park.
Boca Raton FC will begin its NPSL Sunshine Conference season hosting Miami United FC in Delray Beach on Saturday at 6PM. These opponents are no stranger to each other, playing twice last year in the Sunshine Conference with Boca losing both games one to zero. United, who also placed a squad in the APSL last year, faced Boca twice with Boca winning both those games 2-1. The ties between the club go deep as Boca and United have also previously faced off in last years first round of the US Open Cup with United advancing to the second round.
During this offseason of uncertainty, Magic City Soccer writer Drew Housman is helping you keep up-to-date. Below you can find Drew’s “Off-Season Player Tracker,” which lists the known status of every current (or now former) The Miami FC player. The Miami FC Player Tracker updates you with inbound and outbound player movement. You can find more information by visiting the subreddit.