Despite a respectable showing, The Miami FC left Tampa Bay last weekend empty handed. Now the club returns home for a date with the Charlotte Independence, hoping to bounce back within the friendly confines of Riccardo Silva Stadium.
But Charlotte is coming into South Florida with some momentum. And if Miami FC wants to avoid another disappointing result they will need to find a way to finish and find the back of the net.
Know Your Enemy: Charlotte Independence
After getting pounded by the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the season opener, the Independence (2-1-0, 6 pts) responded with two straight shutout victories against Charleston and Pittsburgh. It shows that Charlotte may indeed be a legitimate playoff contender in the Atlantic Division.
In their 1-0 win over Pittsburgh on May 22, the Independence were forced to play with 10 men after Jonathan Dean collected his second yellow card of the evening. Despite playing a man down and facing a flurry of shots in the final minutes, Charlotte hung on for an important road victory.
Goalkeeper Brandon Miller’s back-to-back clean sheets make a compelling case that he is still among the upper echelon of goalkeepers in the USL Championship. He’s made 10 saves in three starts this season, and he’ll hope to keep the good times rolling on Saturday.
Charlotte signed former Las Vegas Lights and San Diego Loyal forward Irvin Parra to replace leading scorer Dane Kelly, who finished with 11 goals in 2020. Those were some big shoes to fill, but so far he’s done a good job filling them. He leads the team with three goals, including two against Charleston and the lone goal against Pittsburgh.
Keys To A The Miami FC Victory
Miami must find a way to start getting the ball in the back of the net. After four games, the Blue and Orange have only managed four goals… one of them an own goal by Loudoun United. That’s not going to cut it.
Billy Forbes and Devon “Speedy” Williams each have one goal apiece, but the rest of Miami’s attackers have so far come up empty. It’s time for Miami’s attack to start living up to its billing. They will need to put pressure up front on Brandon Miller and keep Charlotte’s defense on its heels.
Charlotte is a team that enjoys getting off to fast starts and getting the early lead. Three of Charlotte’s four goals in their last two games came in the first half. Miami will want to set the tone and control possession early to avoid playing from behind.
Miami’s defense will also need to keep the ball away from Irvin Parra, who seems to be slowly regaining his 2019 form when he was among the Championship’s leading scorers with 15 goals for Las Vegas.
Playing at home should provide a boost for this Miami FC squad as they try to get back in the win column and avoid a second straight loss. The question is can they sneak in enough goals past a very hot Charlotte keeper?
Still, the Independence will be eager to extend their win streak to three games. Finishing their four-game road trip to start the season on a very high note would send a message to the rest of the division. But if Miami FC’s stingy defense can shut Parra down, Charlotte might find goals hard to come by.
I’m expecting a low-scoring affair. One mistake may be the difference between an exhilarating victory and a painful defeat for either side.
Miami FC 1 – Charlotte 1
WHO: Miami FC (2-2-0, 6 pts) vs. Charlotte Independence (2-1-0, 6 pts)
WHEN: Saturday, May 29 // 7:30 pm EST
WHERE: Riccardo Silva Stadium (Miami, FL)
INJURY UPDATE: None
- Miami FC – None
- Charlotte Independence – Jonathan Dean (suspended)