Magic City Soccer will take the last 10 days of 2019 to review the last 10 years of Miami-Dade County soccer. Today in Miami Soccer in Review, we take a look back at 2016. The Miami FC debuts less than a year after being announced, and struggles to find its footing.
The Miami FC took the field for the first time in 2016, led by Italian giant Alessandro Nesta. In the club’s first match against Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Darío Cvitanich would score the first goal thanks to a penalty and a 10-man side saw out a 1-1 draw at Lockhart Stadium in Broward County. The Strikers, who qualified for the NASL playoffs the prior season, offered a measuring stick with which to compare Miami FC. The next week, the Blues again saw out a 1-1 draw, this time against Tampa Bay Rowdies, a team that came two points behind Fort Lauderdale the previous season.
It would be the last points Miami FC collected for more than a month.
2016 offered tremendous promise for Miami FC, but it came along with a heap of humility. The NASL Spring Season saw Miami FC finish at the absolute bottom of the table, with seven points from 10 games. The only win for the club would come at home against FC Edmonton on May 28. The joy would last for only three days, as the club was unceremoniously dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup by Wilmington Hammerheads FC of USL, 2-1.
The Fall Season offered much more promise. Until an October swoon, the club actually had a chance to claim the last playoff spot. It was a sour finish to an inaugural season, but it did show possibilities for the future.
MLS lands in Overtown (for now)
In late 2015, Miami Beckham United confirmed it was moving on from previous plans (which included PortMiami, Downtown Miami and Little Havana) to a stadium in Overtown. The proposal was notable for what it included (county-owned land) and what it didn’t (parking). Trouble with this location would take longer to materialize, but would eventually lead to arguably the most significant twist in the MLS saga.
Miami United champs again
Miami United FC started 2016 with a tremendous thunderclap of news. In the span of one week, the club announced it acquired Julio César de León and then, “L’Imperatore” Adriano. The latter never did make much of a contribution to the club, besides an appearance in a friendly in Las Vegas. The former was key in the club dethroning Miami Fusion FC and returning to its perch atop the NPSL Sunshine Conference. Again, Chattanooga FC thwarted Miami United’s hopes of advancing to the NPSL National Finals, but the year concluded with another trophy and another U.S. Open Cup bid.
The FIU men posted another winning record, but with a 10-7-2 failed to reach the NCAA Tournament. The FIU women posted a 3-11-3 record, with a rather remarkable 0-6-1 record. However, they did not go winless in Miami-Dade County.
The Miami Hurricanes managed a 10-8-1 record (the best the team would have under Mary-Frances Monroe) and an NCAA Tournament berth, but would inexplicably drop a 1-0 decision to FIU on Sept. 11.
On the girls’ side, Gulliver Prep reached the Class 2A State Semifinal, losing to Orlando Bishop Moore 4-0. Lourdes reached the 5A State Final, falling to Oviedo 3-1.
On the boys’ side, it was one of the most fruitful state championships in memory. Three Dade schools reached the State Semifinals, and three Dade schools (North Miami Beach Hillel, Class 1A; Ransom Everglades, Class 2A; Belen Jesuit, Class 4A) claimed their state titles.
A moment of self-indulgence
Of least importance in 2016, this media outlet debuted. On July 18, 2016, the first episode of the Magic City Soccer podcast debuted with hosts Matthew Bunch, Drew Housman and Omar Moubayed. You can listen to the first episode below: