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?
It took a few days to figure out, but The Miami FC 2’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup journey will start at Tropical Park. Miami FC 2 and FC Miami City will play at Tropical Park Stadium on May 6 at 7 p.m.
After receiving permission from the United States Soccer Federation to participate in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, The Miami FC 2 and FC Miami City of the Premier Development League will square off in a “play-in” cup match.
In a development that would’ve been totally unexpected even two weeks ago, The Miami FC Open Cup possibilities are still alive. The Miami FC 2 has been granted admission into the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. New York Cosmos B and Jacksonville Armada has also been granted admission.
In a statement, the Open Cup Committee said:
“The Committee carefully considered the teams’ exceptional situation which involved all three moving from Professional Division II status in 2017 to solely Open Division league participation earlier this year. Since the move occurred after the Open Division league’s 2018 Open Cup entry deadline in mid-2017, the Committee decided to allow the three teams the opportunity to compete in the 2018 edition of the U.S. Open Cup.”
The teams will have until 4 p.m. on April 2 to confirm that they are participating. Once they have been confirmed, the three teams will enter the competition via a “Play-In Round” scheduled for the weekend of May 5-6. The winners of the play-in round will advance to the First Round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on May 9.
It was pretty well understood that The Miami FC would not be partcipating in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament. After all, when the Open Cup handbook was released two weeks ago, Miami FC was not among the names listed. There was a good reason for this: There was no Miami FC competing in American soccer in 2018, becaues the league if formerly competed in was not sanctioned. There was a The Miami FC 2, but it was in the NPSL, and hasn’t officially kicked off this year.
However, that didn’t deter the club. On March 16, CEO Sean Flynn requested a sitdown with U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro to discuss Miami FC’s participation. On this very website, it was described as a “last-ditch effort.”
While Flynn apparently didn’t get the sitdown, it does appear there is some momentum building towards the idea of including Miami FC and New York Cosmos in the 2018 tournament after all.
In an apparent last-ditch effort to gain entry into the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, The Miami FC CEO Sean Flynn sent a letter to U.S. Soccer Federation president and fellow Miami resident Carlos Cordeiro.
It’s sad times around Miami-Dade County, as The Miami FC are out of the U.S. Open Cup and currently enduring a three-game losing streak. Matt and Omar break it down. Plus, they look ahead to the 2017-2018 English Premier League season. Join us, won’t you?
Three weeks ago, The Miami FC was the hottest club in North American soccer. Just coming off a 14-game unbeaten streak, the club defeated second-place San Francisco Deltas 7-0 to claim the NASL Spring Season title and had everything to look forward to in a matchup against FC Cincinnati in which it would be favored. Mother Nature intervened and forced a postponement to Aug. 2. Three weeks isn’t that long, right?
For Miami FC and its fans (10,415 of whom showed up Wednesday night — a club record), it feels like an eternity. The club is officially on a losing streak, capped off with the indignity of a 1-0 home shutout to Cincinnati and an ignoble exit from a memorable U.S. Open Cup run.
How many teams get a chance to continue their fantastic cup run after securing a playoff spot in their league? That answer has to be few to none (I know, I know European leagues don’t do playoffs). Miami’s unbeaten run of 14 games ended on the 4th of July to North Carolina FC in a game that lacked the proverbial fireworks that Miami put on Saturday against the San Francisco Deltas. If anything, it’s clear this team doesn’t appreciate getting hit in the mouth. On the heels of the 1-0 loss, Miami came home and obliterated the Deltas 7-0.
Miami FC can continue their historic cup run tonight against an opponent in their same weight class. If the Blues have played a ton of games in recent memory, FC Cincinnati has played even more. This will be their third match in six days ― having previously visited Tampa and returned home to face Richmond. Cincinnati is a team that resembles Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Boasting a 6-6-6 record in United Soccer League play and sitting in sixth place in the USL East, FCC hasn’t produced many points away from the friendly confines of Nippert Stadium. How opposite have these performances been? 5 points in 8 games away from home.
As we discussed with Bryan Weigel earlier this week, this team is nursing injuries, pushing through a heavy schedule and attempting to stay in the USL playoff race. Their cup form has been very similar to our own, with the added benefit of not having to travel. The kicker is they have yet to concede a goal in U.S. Open Cup competition! It shows what home cooking can do for a team.
Miami will be looking to bring that statistic to an end Wednesday night at Riccardo Silva Stadium. Being able to provide extra rest on Saturday to Kwadwo Poku, Vincenzo Rennella, and Richie Ryan will prove critical when playing a team that is willing to absorb a ton of pressure. FCC will try and clog all of the passing lanes while playing 10 men behind the ball. This is a team that kept the Chicago Fire off the score sheet for 120 minutes!
Miami will have to be patient and choose carefully when to send bodies forward. We’ve seen the best teams in the world lose to opponents who park the bus early and finish their only chance on goal. The Blues surely will have their eye on FCC striker Djiby Fall and prepare for a quick counterattack hoping to catch Miami’s backline asleep.
The keys to Miami’s victory lie within the midfield’s ability to get balls into Poku, Stefano Pinho, and Rennella. Their ability to finish even the toughest of chances in the worst of angles will add pressure to the back three that FCC typically employs. If FCC attempts to man mark the PPR highway, it could be a long night for Mitch Hildebrandt & company. One or two early goals and you can seal Miami’s entrance into the semifinals of the cup.
Score prediction: Miami FC 3 – FC Cincinnati 1
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.