Da Silva da man for The Miami FC over Pittsburgh Riverhounds

The Miami FC turned things around in the last ten minutes of last night’s game versus Pittsburgh Riverhounds to grab all three points in an important matchup at the top of the USL Championship Atlantic Division.

A lovely clear fall evening in the 305 with a slight breeze blowing through Riccardo Silva Stadium set the stage for a good game between two evenly matched teams. The encounter exploded into life as fans were treated to a couple of quick-fire goals from the combatants in the first five minutes.

Kenardo Forbes grabbed the opener for the visitors, blasting home from a narrow angle after making a good run to find some space in the area. The Riverhounds had barely finished their celebrations when they were caught cold by Sean McFarlane. The Miami fullback spotted a run by Lamar Walker and the Jamaican made no mistake from close range.

For the rest of the half the teams traded jabs without too many clear cut chances. Pittsburgh were well-organized in defense and transitioned to attack dangerously. Clearly they had done their homework on Miami’s danger men. Christiano Francois struggled to get into the game at times as he was man-marked by the imposing Jelani Peters. Pittsburgh knew the danger posed by Francois and Billy Forbes down the flanks and set themselves up to contain them.

Second half fight

A worrying moment for the FC faithful came when goalkeeper Connor Sparrow was accidentally clobbered by an opponent as he was claiming a ball. As Brian Sylvestre was reaching for the gloves on the bench, Sparrow sprung back up to his feet determined to carry on. A moment that embodies the fighting spirit of this Miami FC side, something they would have to draw on in the second half.

Not long after the hour mark the Riverhounds Russell Cicerone hit the post with an effort. They went one better just after that. Thomas Williamson sent the ball into the area. A rare lapse from Paco Craig at the back saw him just miss a clearing header. Kenardo Forbes snuck away from Othello Bah to head home his second of the evening at the far post to the delight of the small band of Steel Army supporters who had made the trip down.

This game had big ramifications for the 2nd place spot in the division. Miami were three points behind the Riverhounds coming into the game. With Pittsburgh taking the lead, that gap increased to six.

Comeback trail

With Miami not making enough of an impact in the game and needing at least one goal, head coach Paul Dalglish once again pulled off an inspired substitution and tactical change. Nijah Reid and Pierre Da Silva entered the game for Löbe and captain Ariel Martinez. With less than ten minutes remaining Reid drew a couple of ball watching Riverhounds out of position and fizzed a ball across the 18 yard box to Othello Bah who lashed home an unstoppable finish.

Pittsburgh’s second had been a bit of a gift from the Miami backline. But they were happy to return the favor for the game winning goal for FC. Francois found acres of space on the halfway line and the visitors inexplicably left Da Silva totally unmarked. Francois played a perfect pass, Da Silva took one lovely first touch and hammered home the game winner.

The final score 3-2 to Miami. They remain 3rd in the table but equal on points with the Riverhounds plus Miami have one game in hand. Pittsburgh return to Miami on October 17th for a rematch. Before that though The Miami FC travel to bottom-of-the-table Loudoun United next Sunday.

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