Usually when a team comes off a losing effort the players, coaches, and staff will tell you “we’re just looking forward to our next match”. For Miami FC it must have felt like an eternity for the next fixture date to arrive. Coming off a 3-1 loss in the 2nd round of the U.S. Open Cup, the Blues return to the field after a 10 day layoff hoping to begin climbing the NPSL Sunshine Conference Table.
For Miami FC, there is no question that the U.S. Open Cup was the target for the 2018 campaign. Sure, the Sunshine Conference crown is great, but the team had its’ sights on a bigger prize. With the loss to Miami United on May 16th, the thought process has to change. It’s quite an extraordinary catch-22, where the team has the time to shift their focus with the layoff despite never wanting to be out of action for such an extended period of time.
Tonight’s opponent is Palm Beach United. The club formerly known as Beaches FC, joined the NPSL last season. In their freshman campaign, the club struggled to find consistency against the conference finishing 5th with a 4-2-6 record. United may still be looking consistency as they come into the match sporting a 1-0-1 record, dropping a match to Naples while beating Miami United on the road.
Palm Beach are no push-overs. Despite having youth prominent throughout the roster, the team also boasts players with European professional experience. Markus Smarzoch (12 apps in 2.Bundesliga) scored both goals in the win over Miami United.
Keys to A Miami FC Victory:
In order for Miami to get past Palm Beach United, they will need to find mental stability. The key to this game for the Blues may just be the mental aspect as opposed to the traits that make the team dynamic on the field. Constantly throughout the season, we have seen mental lapses and poor judgement displayed by the club. While it’s undoubtedly frustrating, dealing with the intricacies of the NPSL, these players knew what they were dealing with coming into the 2018 campaign.
Miami has yet to record a victory in the 2018 NPSL season and this is the perfect opportunity to begin a winning streak that will catapult them up the table. They say there is comfort in familiarity, therefore, there should be a return to positioning that is not asking more out of players than that of their normal role. Manny Gonzalez has been unable to play in the previous three fixtures due to being cup-tied with another club. Gonzalez should be playing today in a creative midfield role that will allow Vincenzo Rennella and Jaime Chavez to do what they do best up top.
The defense has been the biggest casualties of the aforementioned mental lapses. In a match where the back four have the skill advantage, only playing their opponents with the upmost respect will provide certain victory. Despite only allowing three goals in three games, the defense has found themselves bailed out time and time again by keeper Daniel Vega.
Palm Beach United 1 – 3 Miami FC 2