In this episode of Magic City Soccer, Matt, Drew, Lee and Abel discuss Inter Miami CF’s electoral victory in its City of Miami referendum Tuesday night, while discussing NPSL PRO and Florida Soccer Soldiers’ success in the UPSL. Join us, won’t you?
In this episode of Magic City Soccer, Lee, Drew and Matt cut it up about the new MLS team name, Inter Miami CF, as well as the club’s crest and colors. Omar chats with Chris Wittyngham of Pitch Invasion about soccer goings on. Matt and Lee discuss their “Wifalry.” We relish the start of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup competition. Join us, won’t you?
Thanks to our sponsor, Groundhopper, for helping to make this Magic City Soccer episode happen!
The United States Men’s National Team is currently mired in one of its more humiliating periods in the modern era (failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup). Men in Blazers co-host Roger Bennett thought it would be a good time to reflect on the other calamity since America’s return to the world soccer stage in 1990: The U.S. Men’s National Team’s failure at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. His series, “American Fiasco,” produced with WNYC Studios, looks back at all the ways the U.S. fell short leading up to and during that World Cup campaign. The seven-part podcast, however, offers a small look into how Miami played a small role in John Harkes being removed from the team, a key part of the failure that would arrive in the summer of 1998.
Before the World Cup, many believed the United States was ready to emerge as a potential dark horse to compete in the tournament. However, qualifying proved to be difficult and manager Steve Sampson was dealing with stress and injuries to the squad. Left back Jeff Agoos had been injured in a friendly against Mexico on Feb. 15, 1998. In response to this, Sampson turned to his “Captain for Life” to fill in the gap left by Agoos for the team’s match against The Netherlands at Pro Player Stadium (now Hard Rock Stadium) in Miami Gardens on Feb. 21.
According to Bennett’s interview with Sampson, Harkes was less than thrilled (you can hear Sampson and Harkes themselves describe the situation in full on Episode 5, about 14 minutes in):
“[Harkes] then says to me, ‘I did not come back from England to play as an outside back. I came back to play in the middle of midfield,'” Sampson told Bennett. “And I looked at him, and I said ‘So you’re telling me that you can only play in one position where you want to play, and that your national team coach is asking you to play this role for this game and you’re refusing to do so.’
“I’d never experienced that, in my entire career, a player telling a coach that he wasn’t willing to play in a certain position.”
Harkes had a different perspective, yet agreed he wasn’t fully sold on the idea of playing left back in Miami.
“I thought that he kept saying I didn’t embrace it, and for me, I was like ‘I’m doing my best here,'” Harkes said. “At times, it was his way or the highway. He had taken on this persona that he was the man in charge.”
Harkes played the game as left back, but the damage had been done.
Sampson identified three “strikes” that took Harkes from his “Captain for Life” to off the 1998 U.S. World Cup squad. This incident, where Harkes didn’t initially accept the role, was strike one. Strike two was a night out in Brussles that Sampson did not approve of, and strike three was an affair Harkes had with the wife of U.S. teammate Eric Wynalda.
None of this changes the past, of course. However, this additional context about Sampson’s decision makes the 1998 World Cup flameout a little easier to understand. And, of course, Miami had to play a role.
We finally have a result, as Miami United FC claims the Magic City Clásico crown and advances in the U.S. Open Cup at the expense of The Miami FC 2. Plus, we get to speak in-depth with Chris Wittyngham, who is launching the Pitch Invasion podcast. Join us, won’t you? Thanks to our sponsor, Groundhopper, for helping to make this Magic City Soccer episode happen!
A minisode! We aren’t able to give you the full #MagicCityClásico breakdown you deserve due to some scheduling issues, so we’re going to delay that discussion until next week. In the meantime, Matt got a chance to talk to Eddie Salcedo, who is the tournament director of Neymar Jr’s Five in the United States. A five-a-side tournament, the Five will be coming to Miami on Saturday for preliminary qualification and will return in June for the national final. Are you ready for this? Join us, won’t you? Thanks to our sponsor, Groundhopper, for helping to make this Magic City Soccer episode happen!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With three U.S. Open Cup matches to discuss locally, Matt and Drew are in absolute heaven. Join us, won’t you? Thanks to our sponsor, Groundhopper, for helping to make this Magic City Soccer episode happen!
Drew and Omar return for Episode 48 to break down the inaugural Magic City Clasico, look forward to act two, and discuss Michael Lahoud’s departure from Miami FC. Oh yeah, the International Champions Cup is coming to town! Join us, won’t you?
Drew and Matt get you ready for the start of the National Premier Soccer League Season as The Miami FC 2, Miami United and other teams conclude their preseasons. We also discuss the U.S. Open Cup, international friendlies and Copacabana Beach. Join us, won’t you?
Drew and Matt take a look ahead at The Miami FC 2’s journey into the NPSL, talk about the U.S. Open Cup and how four local teams will be participating, and look ahead to March Madness. Also, Matt drops a Milton Berle reference. Join us, won’t you?
To join our NCAA bracket competition on ESPN, click here!
Matt, Drew and Lee were live from Wynwood Brewing in Downtown Miami! If you missed the live show on Periscope, check in on the future of The Miami FC and the NASL with the fellas. Join us, won’t you?
— Magic City Soccer (@MagicCitySoccer) March 1, 2018