Does it feel like we just put this article out a few days ago? You’re not having a case of deja vu, no… wait, yes you are. The Armada return to town for kickoff a mere 94 hours since their previous clash against Miami FC ended. While the last match ended in Miami’s favor, this time it’s for all the marbles.
If the Miami FC expected a stroll in the park against the Jacksonville Armada U-23 side on Saturday, they were sorely mistaken. Aaron Pitchkolan’s men were ready to frustrate Miami at every turn. Despite getting off their early signature early lead, Paul Dalgish’s Orange and Blue found themselves in a contested first half of football. The Armada deployed similar tactics to Naples, however, could they close?
The NPSL Game Of The Week has come to town and it’s spotlights are shining down on The Miami FC. In this Saturday’s regular season finale there is a lot on the line for the Orange and Blue. While they control their own destiny with regards to hosting six of the seven playoff matches, it’s the final one they need a little help with. Before we focus on the pipeline, we need to focus on the now and this Jacksonville Armada U-23 squad.
The stars of Latin America shined down on Boca Raton in the late afternoon as Mexican side Pachuca took on Colombian giants America De Cali. Both teams displayed dominant spells of possession throughout the match. In a friendly that showcased many of the youth from both clubs, neither could find a goal.
Despite not being awarded matches in the International Champions Cup or the Gold Cup this summer, South Florida is still proving to be a destination of choice for the world’s biggest clubs. Barcelona and Napoli have just come to an agreement to play a friendly at Hard Rock Stadium. Just up the road in Boca Raton, the most expansive series of matches will be contested between Latin American heavyweights in Copa Gigantes. Nacional (Uruguay), Peñarol (Uruguay), Millonarios FC (Colombia), América de Cali (Colombia), Pachuca (Mexico) and DIM (Colombia) are all showcasing at Florida Atlantic University.
It was a slow buildup but a euphoric ending for the Miami FC on Saturday night at Barry University. While the worry set in early for the Miami faithful, Naples could not contain the attack for long. For Naples, a result of any type could have earned the west coast club a playoff match at home. It was a couple of familiar faces whose performance would decide the contest in this top of the table fixture.
Soccer is perhaps the only sport where a title fight gets a rematch so quickly. Anthony Joshua would probably offer a king’s ransom to get the opportunity that Naples United have been afforded by the NPSL scheduling matrix. As you may recall, Naples got the early lead against the Miami FC last weekend. However, Miguel Gonzalez would have much to say before the match was over. Can Miami avoid disaster in a rematch?
Southwest Florida and the Magic City don’t have much in common. Beside the palm trees, fantastic seafood, and a passion to preserve one of the world’s natural wonders the two areas aren’t alike. Don’t tell the Magic City based football clubs that. Both the Miami FC and FC Surge felt right at home bringing back all of the points across Alligator Alley.
Saturday’s match up is one of the rarer fixtures that come in the National Premier Soccer League. The league has 91 teams and the sunshine conference is home of the second and fifth team in the league’s power rankings (points per game). Naples United has been perfect so far on the year amassing wins in their five matches. For Miami FC, despite some disappointment their recent form has been outstanding.
When a club goes on a run that includes outscoring their opponents by 32 goals, it’s inevitable that there is a let down coming. Very rarely are dominant performances like the ones displayed by MFC sustained in the long haul. In what may have been the first blimp on the radar since the loss to the Florida Soccer Soldiers, Miami managed to only score one goal by half time. It was the next 45 minutes that showed all the signs of a team ready for a lengthy playoff run.