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.
Miami have been notoriously slow starters this season but were up and running in the first quarter of an hour with two quick fire goals. After a stoppage in play in the first minute to patch up Rhett Bernstein following a freak collision with a Boca player, Dylan Mares and Don Smart combined to set up Dario Suarez. The dynamic Cuban curled a lovely finish around Michael Stone in the Boca goal.
Miami would end up piling in four goals in the first 45 minutes, not least due to Boca’s awful defending of set pieces. Bernstein fired in a loose ball from a corner, Suarez got his second from a corner kick too after gobbling up his own rebound. Jaime Chavez rounded off the first half by tapping home after a wonderful team move. Mason Trafford finding Tyler Polak marauding down the left, the fullback moving the ball inside for Jonny Steele and Mares to work out to Smart on the right wing. The tricky Jamaican threaded a lovely ball to an unmarked Chavez. It was MFC2 at their finest. A lovely, fluent attacking move.
Don Smart’s contribution of three assists show how important he is to the team so it was no surprise to see him subbed off in the interval as both he and Bernstein had picked up silly yellow cards. These two players will be important in the playoffs, so the risk of a second yellow was too great especially with the usual unpredictable NPSL ref in the charge.
But FC would end up down to ten men moments into the second half as Jaime Chavez reacted to a very late challenge from an opponent. Chavez lashed out and gave the ref no choice but to give him his marching orders. There were a few flashpoints in the game and this story is all too familiar to anyone who has been following this season. Paul Dalglish will have to shuffle his pack for the playoffs.
Despite the man advantage, Boca could not get their soccer going. With just under ten minutes remaining, and the visitors looking for that consolation goal, Tomas Greco performed surgery on the Boca defense opening them up with a through ball that was sharper than a scalpel. Ariel Martinez applied the finish with a deft lob for the fifth and final goal.
Photo credit: Victory Rising
The win guaranteed first place by three points and the bye to the final gives Dalglish a chance to figure out his system for next weekend’s game without Jaime Chavez. Despite that, Miami look to be peaking at the right time and certainly have the ability to create chances for the likes of Kris Tyrpak and Suarez who has been lethal in front of goal. As another season in the NPSL, or possibly the rumored NPSL Pro, in 2019 looks increasingly likely then this finish will probably mean MFC2 have booked their place in next year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Miami FC have now won five consecutive games. One more on Saturday will give them the Sunshine Conference Championship.