It’s the evening of 5th of November 2017. I’m bent double with my head in my hands as the sounds of boisterous celebration by the contingent from the New York Cosmos in Riccardo Silva Stadium confirm that The Miami FC’s 2017 NASL season is over. Mason Trafford has just planted his shootout effort onto the woodwork. For the first time in my life I couldn’t watch a penalty. It meant too much. Of all the players I didn’t want to miss, it was Mason. He’d not put a foot wrong all year, the likable boy from Boynton Beach had become a fan favorite for his consistent performances in defense. Soccer is a sport that writes cruel scripts.
The Miami FC CEO Sean Flynn and manager Paul Dalglish met members of the press and the general public on Thursday night promoting the club’s new partnership with Soccer Academy of the Americas. However, the club’s leadership also spoke about plans on the field in 2019.
It was the most highly anticipated matchup of the UPSL Florida South Division season so far. Undefeated and untied Florida Soccer Soldiers faced off with undefeated and untied Miami Sun FC. The game that started with such excitement ended with such controversy, as Florida Soccer Soldiers scored off a contested corner and the Miami Sun FC complaints reached such a fever pitch that the referees called the match more than 20 minutes early.
Thursday saw confirmation of possibly the worst-kept secret in US Soccer. The news that the National Premier Soccer League will start an elite national division on top of the existing NPSL in 2020. Leading into that, after the conclusion of the 2019 NPSL regular season and playoffs, the teams at the forefront of this movement will play a ‘Founder’s Cup’ as a way of ushering in the new era in the fall of 2019.
During the 2018-2019 offseason (and just like last season), 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.
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.
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 Miami FC 2 signed off a six-game stand at home by easing past Duluth FC with three unanswered goals.
Somehow the deluge engulfing the rest of Florida on Saturday evening missed the Opa Locka-Miami Gardens area and the fans were treated to lovely evening perfect for soccer. And the fans showed up. The hype of the International Champions Cup and the hoopla of Futbol Miami MLS has not dampened the enthusiasm of the Miami FC faithful. Many people in this part of the World claim to love soccer, the 1289 people who showed up to this claim are probably the ones who mean it. The second highest attendance of the season at the Bob.
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.