Back in 2017 we had a nice little run going here at Magic City Soccer of nailing score-lines of Miami FC matches. If you look back at the preview, we hit the match right on it’s head. It took Miami quite a while, for their standards, to get their first goal of the match. It just took one to open the floodgates and secure three points in Winter Park.
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.
Last month, The Miami FC coach Paul Dalglish gave some clues as to how the club would be built in 2019. This week, fans and observers got a clearer view as to what kind of team might take the field this season.
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.
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.
With the loss of forward Jaime Chávez to a red card and the late scratch of Don Smart, it appeared Saturday night’s challenge against Jacksonville Armada FC for the NPSL Sunshine Conference championship would be an uphill battle. But virtually from the moment of kickoff, The Miami FC 2 were in the driver’s seat and their play took them all the way to the title, thoroughly defeating the Armada 3-1.
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.
The Miami FC 2 signed off a very successful inaugural NPSL regular season with a comfortable win against a lackluster Boca Raton FC side. With the home fans finally given a chance to enjoy a Saturday night game, there was a real end-of-term feel to proceedings and a quiet confidence that the job in hand could be completed and that 1st place in the Sunshine Conference would be sewn up.
It’s incredible to think that the 2018 NPSL soccer season is on it’s final fixture date here in the Magic City. The three month “flash in the pan” season reaches it’s end as Miami FC 2 take on the boys from Boca Raton in a final showdown. Unfortunately for Boca, this match means nothing other than a final showing. For MFC2, one point makes the difference between hosting a semi-final and potentially traveling, or having seven days off and hosting the Conference final.
Coming into Tuesday’s match, Paul Dalglish was forced to use his imagination due to injuries to Kris Tyrpak and Shaddi Atassi. Deploying a six midfield lineup (seven if you want to count Smart) against a strong Naples side was bold. Fortunately, it was enough and Miami was able to get an extra four days of rest and recovery for the strikers. With Vincenzo Rennella and Aly Hassan gone from the lineup the lone striker on the club, Jaime Chavez, can use all the rest he can get given the gauntlet that is the NPSL playoffs.
Jim Rooney’s boys will look to play spoiler tonight denying the Miami FC organization its third straight season title. The blueprint for beating this Miami side essentially public knowledge at this point. Time and time again we’ve seen the Blues get frustrated from having to break down five at the back and opponents using holding midfielders to clog up the passing lanes. If Rooney is determined to deny Miami FC 2’s first spotlight, it will be crucial to be organized at the back and keep an eye on the wingbacks.
The truth is, there is less pressure on this team today knowing that all they need is a draw in order to secure the top slot. Unfortunately for MFC2, the structure of the playoffs for the region will require them to get a win if they would like to host a NPSL regional semi-final if they make it out of the conference playoffs. Thankfully, there is some solace in knowing that the last time these two teams faced off Miami trounced Boca 5-0.
Keys To A MFC2 victory:
Miami was able to score early on Boca Raton in their previous fixture at Atlantic High School. Miami used their pace to create cracks in the Boca backline and cause chaos all day for the defensive unit. Much of the same should be expected today as Paul Dalglish deploys his fullbacks forward, asking them to become part of the attack. Don Smart, who has made the right wingback position his own, will look to terrorize the Boca back line with his space and crossing ability.
In a perfect world, Tyrpak and Chavez would be available to man the front line along with Dario Suarez. If Miami can play their best eleven, their biggest obstacles would be complacency and themselves. Expect the midfield to try and create passing lanes for the wingers and work to free Chavez in behind the defense.
All-in-all this match should be an easier contest than Miami’s previous outings at home. Boca’s lone win at home came against Storm FC and the south palm beach boys have given up a staggering 17 goals on the road this season. It should be all Miami early on as they look to seal the game early to allow for the bench to get involved as soon as possible.
Miami FC 2 4 – 0 Boca Raton FC
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