Another off season full of drama has been provided by the NASL and the USSF. Unfortunately for Miami FC supporters, this offseason has had a prolonged “inevitable doom” feeling. Unlike last season, this off season was viewed from the distant shore as a storm that could bring some reckoning. Reckoning, it has definitely brought upon the NASL.
After getting out Puerto Rico with three points despite giving up plenty of chances, Miami FC had to return home and get ready to play the same club again. Entering the game Miami had not allowed a single goal since Eamon Zayed’s 88th minute tap in three weeks ago. Would Miami’s back line hold up? Would Mason Trafford make an appearance?
The biggest question The Miami FC had to answer coming into the 2017 campaign was “Can this defense hold up?” Boy, have they ever held up their end of the bargain. After allowing 42 goals in 2016, the backline has found the chemistry necessary to shut opponents down. Through 16 league games, the boys at the back have only allowed 11 goals and have helped Mario Daniel Vega hold seven clean sheets. In an extra four games of U.S. Open Cup play, Miami has allowed five goals while keeping a clean sheet against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Let’s take a look at this part of the team’s season so far and their best moments.
What a difference a year makes.
Back in 2016 with the spring season of the NASL drawing to a close, The Miami FC were struggling. Porous at the back and mis-firing up front, the promise the franchise showed off the pitch had not been fulfilled. They finished 11th of 11 and deserved no more than that.
Fast-forward 12 months and Alessandro Nesta’s men are playing scintillating soccer, marauding their way to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals and trouncing teams by four goals… seven goals even, while also keeping clean sheets. So what has changed? In truth, it’s not been a revolution but an evolution.
Remember when we said that the win against Orlando City SC was the biggest game The Miami FC’s history and had the biggest implications for soccer in this city? Well, we were a bit short sighted with regards to that statement. Tonight’s tilt against Atlanta United has usurped that title as Miami faces its toughest test yet.
In an unexpectedly tight matchup, The Miami FC of the North American Soccer League survived a serious challenge from South Florida Surf of the Premier Development League in order to advance to the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Cobb Stadium on the campus of the University of Miami on Wednesday.