Loudoun Loss Sets Up Tense USL Battle for Miami FC

Much was said before the game with Loudoun United about The Miami FC now having a string of cup finals to end the season. It was plain to see for everyone on Sunday afternoon that the performance from the Orange and Blue was not up to the standard required for any kind of big game. All credit to Loudoun, written off by everyone before kickoff, they buckled down after going a goal down and having a player sent off to grab a win that gives them a big boost in their chase of New York Red Bulls II to avoid the wooden spoon in the Atlantic Division. And it wasn’t all bad news for Miami, as new signing Chris Cortez bagged his first goal for the club. It wasn’t enough though and the final score was 3-2 to the hosts.

Miami FC have been in good form recently, but the 2-0 loss to Charlotte and this failure to capitalize on ten-man Loudoun are speed bumps that raise a few questions. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s better to have these kinds of warnings in the tail end of the regular season before we get to the playoffs. Paul Dalglish and his staff are not the sort of people to just shrug their shoulders and put a loss to the bottom team in the division down as one of those things. They’ll look at what happened, learn the lessons and be better prepared for the upcoming games.

You could say that there have been occasions this season where Miami FC have got more out of games than they perhaps should have done, it’s sometimes a fact that these things even themselves out over the season. The 3-2 victory with 10 men versus the Charleston Battery in August was definitely two points stolen. And even the most recent game versus the Pittsburgh Riverhounds where two late goals from substitutes were needed to grab three points against the odds.

It’s Pittsburgh who are back to provide the opposition this Saturday. While Miami dropping points on the road would have been music to Riverhounds coach Bob Lilley’s ears, it is sometimes not easy to go up against a wounded animal. The players and staff will know the performance against Loudoun wasn’t acceptable and they will be wanting to put things right quickly against Pittsburgh.

With the only certainty being that the green and yellow monster down the I-75 are the champions of the Atlantic division, there’s a knife fight between Miami, Pittsburgh and Charlotte for the No. 2 spot. Miami can move into second with at least four points from the next two games against Pittsburgh and away at the Rowdies. However they’d need Charlotte to drop points this Saturday, unlikely as they are at home to Charleston Battery.

So it’s pretty tight. Pittsburgh are out of contention if they lose to Miami. They have two winnable games at home to round off their season with the Battery and Hartford coming to visit. A final total of 57 points probably won’t be enough for second. Miami have no room for error and need to go unbeaten now for the remainder of the season. Four games, at least ten points. And Charlotte. They have three games they would be favorites to win coming up against Charleston, Hartford and Loudoun. Their final game is a tricky visit to Austin Bold who are scrapping for a playoff place themselves.

It’s good that Miami have clinched a playoff spot already and it just remains to be seen where they will finish for seeding. Coming 3rd or 4th means a difficult test against Birmingham Legion or Louisville City in the playoffs on the road.

One thing’s for sure. A victory against Pittsburgh Riverhounds is an absolute must for Miami FC. What you can be certain of is a great game of soccer. Saturday’s game is at 7:30 p.m and as a treat for reading our article you can grab tickets at a great price! $5 for youths, $10 for adults. Call 844-MIAMIFC or bit.ly/MIAPlayoffPush Promo code: Playoffs.

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