What if I told you the off-season would leave Miami’s only professional club in absolute chaos? What if I told you the roster would suffer an exodus of talent? How about if I told you the team would rally and reach a national championship? Would you have believed me? I wouldn’t blame you if you wouldn’t. Yet, that’s exactly where Miami FC find themselves today. One match against FC Motown away from a national title and a vindication story made for the movies.
The best action of the entire International Champions Cup showcase happened last night at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. In a double-header showcasing the best women’s talent in soccer PSG, Manchester City, Olympique Lyonnais, and the North Carolina Courage put on a display second to none. In a third-place match that had numerous goals, to a final that produced amazing displays of tactical abilities no other set of matches have come close.
After two fixture dates in the Miami’s International Champions Cup run, one thing has become very apparent. The women’s tournament has been holding it’s own in the shadow of the two men’s fixtures. While Real Madrid and Manchester United is the main event, it’s a shame that the women’s tournament hasn’t received the support it merits at the turnstile. The best action in this tournament has come from the North Carolina Courage and Olympique Lyonnais. The best value in this tournament comes Sunday as the two square off for the inaugural title.
For The Miami FC faithful, this season has gone just about as well as you could’ve hoped. Sure, a longer U.S. Open Cup run would have been welcomed, but this post-season has been a delight for supporters. Coming off the hiatus of the NASL, Miami FC was left with no place to play. In a scramble the organization created Miami FC 2 and entered the NPSL’s Southeast Conference. That last minute addition is now one of the final four teams vying for the NPSL Title.
The House of Soccer event kicked off Friday afternoon in an effort to unite the soccer culture of the Magic City. Located at Mana in Wynwood, the world’s greatest players (american football as well) took the field in a small sided showcase. If that 5-on-5 action wasn’t compelling enough there were four trophies on hand for photo opportunities.
In the words of the great musician Billy Joel, “Oh what a night”. The Miami FC 2 clinched their ticket to the national tournament and took care of business at the BOB. To make things even sweeter, Miami will get to play another match in front of the FC2 faithful. Despite some mid-week heroics, Little Rock was just no match for this professional outfit.
The season that just doesn’t want to end continues. Magic City soccer fans are going to be treated to at least one more match of significant importance Saturday as The Miami FC 2 take on the Rangers of Little Rock, Arkansas. In a season that has bloomed in the darkest of skies, Miami has a unique ability to win their second NPSL title of the season and earn a place in the national finals.
Last week the Miami FC 2 managed to do something they couldn’t last year, win a playoff. Unlike the NASL, the NPSL has a “three-round” playoff system. After a team makes it out of their conference playoffs, they enter the regional stage, then move on to the national final four. During the playoffs each round is a one-legged fixture hosted by the team that earned a higher points per game tally during the regular season. Miami’s stellar regular season forces the Atlanta Silverbacks to come to town.
We have the opponent, and we have the date. As we mentioned earlier, this 2018 NPSL season has been eerily similar to a roller coaster ride. You have the anxiety before you take your seat, the high’s, the low’s, the fear, the excitement. Yet, at the end of the ride you pull off your safety constraints and you get off knowing you always would. Despite everything that has happened, the draws, the losses, and the unconvincing victories, it’s Miami FC versus Jacksonville for the title. It’s what was always supposed to be.
There is a wide misconception that has grown through the years here in South Florida. It has been the gold standard to every stadium project when it’s time to discuss financing and acquisition. Those familiar with sports here in the Magic City know that I am already talking about Joe Robbie Stadium, now known as Hard Rock Stadium. South Florida idolizes Robbie for building it with his own money, however, lost in the story is the land acquisition deal.