It’s been a long, long, time since the Miami FC played an official match in central Florida. The Orlando area has always treated Miami quite well on the pitch. I don’t have to remind you of the 2017 #cupset over Orlando City behind the hat trick from Stefano Pinho. Those days are long gone, but the Miami FC are in fine form and look to keep racking up the wins in the 407 over NPSL Sunshine Conference newcomers CFSC.
It was surprising and yet at the very same time it was not. The Florida Soccer Soldiers will get their second round match against the Charlotte Independence (USL Championship) in just a few hours. The UPSL heavyweights from the Magic City held their own against the NPSL champions Miami FC just a week ago. Flash forward six days later, and the Soldiers are looking to make a FC Christos style run in the U.S. Open Cup.
It was a good night of soccer for the Magic City faithful. With two matches taking place consecutively, or so we thought, South Florida was treated to 180 minutes of dominating action. In Lauderhill, Miami FC had to wait approximately three hours to kickoff their match against the new look Storm FC. Our contingent was at the match, where the weather delay persisted due to lightning strikes in the area, despite a drop of water never falling from the sky. Scheduled for a 5:30 kickoff, Miami United’s contest against the Jacksonville Armada began prior to kickoff at Central Broward Stadium.
The Jacksonville Armada return a youth side to the NPSL after having a professional roster take the pitch in 2018. Robert Palmer is seeming to keep his options open as to where to take the first team next, and the U-23 side will likely be comprised of the local college talent and high school standouts. Miami United arguably have enough in the tank to avenge their Sunshine Conference playoff loss to the main team a year ago. The Armada will open their 2019 season against the winners of the most recent #MagicCityClasico.
The Miami FC make their first trip into Broward county for the 2019 season. While Lockhart is being demolished in Fort Lauderdale, there is soccer being played just down the road in Lauderhill. Storm FC have seen a major organizational overhaul in 2019 with the Miami Soccer Academy taking over operations from the crew that finished last in the 2018 NPSL Sunshine Conference. The question is, can MSA provide some type of hope for the Storm brand?
The Miami FC have been left with a sour taste in their mouth with having been exposed in the away fixture of the #MagicCityClasico. The second of the fixtures against Miami United was the exact opposite of the first contest, with United besting FC 2-0 with both goals coming in the first half. The highly touted Lloyd Sam was invisible in a match where his talent should have cast a spotlight. The midfield was lacking the link in play that is notable of Miami’s style throughout their history. The return of Ariel Martinez will be a boost to the squad that is surely looking to make a statement.
Keys To A Miami FC Victory
Ariel Martinez might find himself thrown immediately into the fire as he will be getting his first action of 2019. With Miami being unable to create chances from the midfield against Miami United, expect Paul Dalglish to make a point of emphasis of creating passing lanes and using runs into the box to bring havoc to the Storm backline. In last year’s fixture, Jaime Chavez capitalized on aerial through-balls and a sleeping Storm defense. Miami cannot solely rely on feeding Mohamed Thiaw in the air as a target man. Getting combination runs and exposing Storm out wide like some of these goals last year will be key.
While the middle of the defense was arguably the most questionable going into the campaign, Kcira’s season ending injury has left Miami exposed on the flanks. Miami United exposed Marco Franco’s and Brian James’ lack of pace and positional awareness last weekend. Dalglish must find a solution to his fullback situation and provide support in coverage. It would be wise to deploy Lance Rozeboom in a more defensive role and perhaps have him slot in as a 3rd centreback, giving Brenton Griffiths, John Neeskens, and Jalen Markey freedom to help cover the flanks when necessary.
The simple truth is, no one knows what to expect from this newly run Storm FC side. Storm was unable to tally against Naples United and didn’t fare as well as they should have against USL League Two side FC Miami City. While I don’t expect a full on drubbing like the 7-0 fixture in 2018, the talent and experience should carry Miami to their second victory of the season. Dalglish should have his squads full talents on display as avoiding any setbacks the rest of the way is the key to putting Miami FC in the best possible position to repeating the success from a year ago.
Tickets will be available at the gate and Miami Soccer Academy are giving out some for free to attend the match at 5:30. Click here for a chance to win your free tickets.
You would think that with back to back #MagicCityClasico fixtures that it would begin to lose some of its luster or that the meaning would become just a bit less. Guess again. With both clubs eager to lace up their boots for the fifth installment of this derby, both sides have something to provide. Miami United will look to avenge their first ever defeat at the hands of Miami FC. For FC, making life as difficult as possible for United and damaging their chances at a second place finish in the sunshine conference in the task.
The Magic City Clasico entered its fourth act Saturday night on the campus of Barry University. In the previous three contests, Miami United excelled at frustrating The Miami FC. The rough tackles, the willingness to go to ground, and the physicality all carried over from 2018. There was absolutely zero love lost between the two sides. Unfortunately for United, the 2019 version of Miami FC responds to adversity far better.
Few would equate the dynamics of college football with soccer. Somehow, the Magic City Clasico and the NPSL on a shortened schedule shares the chaos, uncertainty, and euphoria of NCAA football. Every game is a must win and the lack of an official “pre-season” means clubs are often thrown straight into the deep end. The University of Miami often had to deal with their season hanging in the balance with Florida State University being their first opponent throughout the 2000’s. For the winner, the path has been cleared for the rest of the campaign. For the loser, panic attacks and prayers hoping to salvage a damaged season. This is what the Magic City Clasico has become.
Despite not walking away with a trophy in 2018, Miami United had one of their best seasons to date. Would a deep run in NPSL playoffs have been great? Of course. United, however, managed to make an impressive run through the 2018 U.S. Open Cup with a roster of genuine unknown players to the local soccer scene. 2019 proves to be a tougher challenge, however, the pink and black have a chip on their shoulder.
What would the Miami MLS saga be without yet another lawsuit? This time, FXE Futbol is getting in on the action.
FXE Futbol, LLC, the group that challenged Inter Miami CF for the right to redevelop Lockhart Stadium, has sued the City of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beckham United, LLC (the holding organization behind Inter Miami). The lawsuit was first reported by the Miami Herald.
While the complaint discusses topics we have seen before, there is one wild twist that is being alleged. Perhaps the battle for Lockhart stadium isn’t quite over.
At first glance the complaint, filed by attorney David J. Winker, requests that the court review the Public-Private Partnership Process with regards to the Lockhart site and the city’s decision to award the project to Inter Miami.
“This is an action challenging the validity and effect of the frantic and, ultimately, statutorily inadequate, Public-Private Partnership Process undertaken pursuant to Fla. Stat. Sec. 255.065 by Defendant CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE”
FXE Futbol is seeking a writ of mandamus and civil action against not only the City of Fort Lauderdale but Miami Beckham United, citing damages of over $15,000. While this has been par for the course, this is the first time a competitor has filed a claim seeking to reverse the decision by a local government.
Where the petition really begins to get interesting is on line item 13. According to FXE Futbol, Inter Miami was spreading falsehoods regarding the level of asbestos present at Lockhart in its current state. FXE Futbol has outlined that Inter Miami was advising the city council that there was “a tremendous amount of asbestos present at the stadium” and therefore revitalization or renovation was not actually possible.
The complaint discusses how procedural violations were made by the City of Fort Lauderdale throughout the process, which is much like what we have seen argued and alleged against Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami. Due to this being the first complaint being filed by a competing interest, FXE Futbol is seeking monetary damages in the amount of “lost profits”.
With March 2020 coming closer with each passing day, Inter Miami cannot afford another lengthy court battle that stalls the process of acquiring permits, clearance, and the demolition of Lockhart stadium. With the timeline already being questioned by the public, if this judgement is granted in favor of the plaintiffs we could see a real snag in Inter Miami’s plans to open in 2020.
Author’s Note: Omar Moubayed is not an attorney and does not claim to be an active member of the Florida Bar Association. Any and all information in this news story is neither his legal opinion nor the legal opinion of Magic City Soccer.