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Matthew Bunch

Matthew Bunch has lived in Miami since 2005, covering a variety of collegiate and professional sports. As Editor in Chief of The Miami Hurricanes, the student newspaper of the University of Miami, Matthew and his staff won the paper's first ACP Pacemaker Award since 1992. With the return of professional soccer to Miami-Dade County in 2016, Matthew channeled his professional interest with his personal passion for the Beautiful Game. You can contact Matthew at bunch.mcs@gmail.com.

The Miami FC defeats New York Cosmos to claim second NPSL national title

The Miami FC captain Dylan Mares hoists the NPSL National Chamopnshp trophy after Miami defeated New York Cosmos, 3-1.

The Miami FC claimed its second National Premier Soccer League National Championship on Saturday night, defeating host New York Cosmos 3-1.

Miami FC, which has announced it has plans to leave NPSL for the National Independent Soccer Association, became the first team in NPSL history to win a second title.

After both teams alternated chances in the first 10 minutes, a high press from Miami FC and Ariel Martinez generated a turnover from Daniel Szetela. The ball landed at the feet of captain Dylan Mares, who passed to Miguel Gonzalez, and found Mares on a one-time pass that set him up for a clear shot on goal. A low roller to the left corner beat Cosmos keeper Paul Blanchette to put Miami up 1-0.

The key second goal came just six minutes later, when another turnover from Szetela forced by Tomás Granitto led to the ball falling right at Mares’ foot. A few touches and a small move to the right found Mares open in the box with a look at the top-right corner. The captain again took his chance, and doubled his team’s advantage.

New York Cosmos would halve the advantage in the 30th minute, when an Ansi Agolli free kick sneaked through the crowd in the box and past Miami FC goalkeeper Mark Pais, who was anticipating a header that never came.

Keeping them in it

It was the one misstep from Pais, who made a number of saves to keep Miami FC in the game. Particularly in the second half, Pais made save after save to keep the one-goal advantage in place. In the 86th minute, it took a double-fingertip save from Pais to keep Miami FC on top.

The game was finally sorted in stoppage time, when defender Shawn Chin won a ball and found forward Darío Suárez on the wing. Chin then continued a run, and Suárez found him streaking down the right. With only Blanchette to beat, Chin calmly moved around the sliding keeper, continued his run, and passed the ball into the heart of the net. Chin’s shirt came off, his team ran over to join him at the opposite flag post, and the champions defended their crown.

BREAKING: City of Fort Lauderdale commission gives final approval to Inter Miami CF construction at Lockhart Stadium site

The City of Fort Lauderdale commission Tuesday evening gave approval for Inter Miami CF to construct a new stadium at the previous site of Lockhart Stadium. Photo via mlssoccer.com

Less than six months after the proposal was introduced, and less than two months after demolition began, the City of Fort Lauderdale’s commission Tuesday night gave final approval to the construction of a stadium at the site of Lockhart Stadium for the use of Inter Miami CF.

The vote, which was unanimous and took only a few minutes of deliberation, now guarantees that Inter Miami CF will have a home to play in when it begins its first Major League Soccer campaign.

There are still wrinkles to iron out. Most notably, the Federal Aviation Administration will have say over the construction process, due to the lot’s proximity to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. According to Chris Wittyngham, who spoke to a team official after the vote, the team is ready to start building as soon as that approval is given.

September start?

640 the Hurricane radio host Andy Slater spoke to the team before the vote. A spokesperson stated that they believe the FAA approval could come in September.

The FAA has been a speed bump on construction at the Lockhart Stadium site before. A long-proposed water park next to the stadium was scuttled because of FAA regulations.

Ownership has routinely stated that they expect the stadium to be completed by the start of the 2020 MLS season.

Florida Soccer Soldiers to host team of British Army soldiers from Coldstream Guards FC

Coldstream Guards FC Florida Soccer Soldiers

In a name-perfect matchup Wednesday night, Florida Soccer Soldiers will host Coldstream Guards FC, a team made up of soldiers from the British Army’s Coldstream Guards.

“Our last few tours have consisted in and around Europe with our last one being to Cyprus last year,” a representative of the team said through Instagram earlier this week. “We thought, why not the states and we just couldn’t say no to Miami.”

The match comes just two days after Coldstream Guards FC faced Red Force FC at Tropical Park. Red Force won that match, 4-2.

The Soccer Soldiers match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. kickoff at Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah.

 

FC Barcelona schedule two surprise preseason friendlies, including one vs. Napoli in Miami

Hard Rock Stadium is pictured during an International Champions Cup match between Real Madrid of LaLiga and Manchester United of the Premier League in Miami Gardens on July 31, 2018. FC Barcelona is scheduled to play Napoli at the stadium in August 2019. Photo courtesy Real Madrid.

Just a few months ago, it looked like Miami-Dade County would not have a marquee international club friendly at Hard Rock Stadium, breaking a pattern set for years. However, according to Spanish newspaper Sport, some changes to the Spanish Super Cup may allow FC Barcelona return to South Florida.

For years, the Supercopa de España was contested (like most super cups) before the kickoff of the next league season. However, this season’s version has been moved to Spain’s “winter break,” leaving Barcelona more time before competitive matches start.

In this space, Barcelona have secured an agreement with Seria A side Napoli. Two matches have been agreed to, per Sport. The first, on Aug. 7, will take place at Hard Rock. The second, on Aug. 11, will be played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

Ticket information has not yet been made public.