It wasn’t conventional, but The Miami FC 2 preseason ended with two opponents beaten in one game. In two 45-minute “mini-matches,” Miami FC 2 beat the St. Thomas University Bobcats 3-0 and the Lynn University Knights 1-0.
The first 45 were marked by stout Miami FC defense. Yes, there were three goals, but two of them came after minute 40. The Bobcats generally defended well, but were almost completely unable to mount an attack.
“It’s good to get the rhythm and [Mario Daniel] Vega, myself, [Tyler] Ruthven, [Rhett] Bernstein, a lot of the guys back there, we’ve played back there two years so we’re quite familiar with one another and just getting back into the swing of things this preseason,” Miami FC 2 centerback Mason Trafford said after the game. “I think we’re ready for what the NPSL will bring next week.”
Don Smart, who started the game as right wing but swapped sides with Coy Craft midway through the first half. Smart was able to find lots of space down the right side before the switch, setting up the first goal of the match with a well-placed crossed pass to the foot of Vincenzo Rennella.
After the switch, roles were reversed and Rennella assisted on a pass to Don Smart. Smart was able to move the ball in down the left side and beat the St. Thomas keeper. Craft capped the first-half scoring immediately after kick-off following the Smart goal. Craft stormed down the middle of the field, made a physical play to maintain possession of a pass from Dylan Mares, and finished coolly to the left of the keeper.
In the second half, against Lynn, it was a different story even though it also ended with a Miami FC win. Lynn played with much more composure at the back, passing instead of clearing. The Knights actually had the better of the opportunities for most of the second half (although it must be said they played with fresh legs out of halftime, while Miami FC obviously did not).
Twice the Knights were able to put a shot on goal, although both times Mario Daniel Vega was grabbed it with ease. That was more than Miami FC was able to do for the first 20 minutes, until opportunities began to arrive. Three times Miami FC had shots in front of goal. Two of them were skyed above the crossbar and one trickled just wide left.
Finally, in the 41st minute of the second half, Stefano Fanfoni managed to pass the ball just enough to get it to Aly Alberto Hassan. Hassan blasted it past the Lynn keeper to secure the win just before the end of the game.
Miami FC 2 preseason reflection
“It’s tough. I think the goal is to get some guys 90 minutes. Obviously, some of us made it, but it’s tough out here with the heat. I think it’s also really tough … I thought we played quite well in the first half, we missed some chances. That sharpness in front of goal will come.
“It’s always tough, because a new team comes on the second half, it’s not really the same game, right? We’re tired and they’re fresh. It’s a bit false that way, but I think the team did well. We got the wins in both halves and it was a more mature performance than we’ve had, I think, in earlier preseason games.”
The Miami FC 2 will now begin its first National Premier Soccer League campaign on Sunday, April 15. The squad travels to Ted Hendricks Stadium at Milander Park in Hialeah to play Miami United FC. It starts a busy schedule for the team, and the Miami FC 2 preseason matches are just the surface of the challenges the team will face this year.