Don’t look now, but Miami FC is the hottest team in the entire USL Championship. After defeating the Tampa Bay Rowdies in front of a home crowd for the first time since joining the Championship, Miami heads north for another important divisional match against Hartford Athletic.
The wait is finally over. For the first time since joining the USL Championship, Miami FC will be playing in front of a home crowd at Riccardo Silva Stadium. And the timing couldn’t be any better.
The Miami FC were on a mission as they arrived in Leesburg, Virginia. Miami is an awkward stage of their 2021 USL Championship season having played more games than the other Atlantic Division contenders. Miami FC came into the match 5-2-5 having amassed 17 points in their first 12 matches. With Head Coach Paul Dalglish still away from the sidelines, Miami turned to assistant coach Andy Thomson again to run the squad.
Coming into the match the Tampa Bay Rowdies (8-0-2) were the heavy favorites vs Miami FC (4-2-5). Up until this point Miami had only recorded one win against the Rowdies; a hard fought 2-0 in their memorable 2017 U.S Open Cup run. Miami desperately needed a win to stay in contention for a playoff spot and achieved that with style and confidence against one of the toughest opponents in the league.
Shuffling some players around following last week’s defeat to Charleston Battery, Miami looked to Francois and Walker to provide a burst down the wings. Captain Speedy Williams replaced Ariel Martinez in the number 10 role and Ballard was given a start at right back. Miami FC got off to a slow start with the first chance coming for Birmingham Legion’s Serbena Lapa who had his shot sail harmlessly over the crossbar. After a sluggish start Miami began to enjoy some possession in midfield giving Speedy the time he needed to start picking out runs into the box.
The Miami FC got the start it wanted Friday night, but a strong opening 10 minutes was not nearly enough. Two Charleston Battery goals sealed the Orange and Blue’s fate, sending the club to its second defeat in the month of June.
In an exclusive interview with Magic City Soccer, Miami FC CEO Michael Williamson confirmed the club’s repopulation plan for the 2021 season. Fans will be back in attendance for the July 17th fixture against in-state rivals the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the first time in 616 days. Williamson outlined what to expect and the cost to attend the remaining nine home games in the 2021 season on Episode 93 which you can list to by clicking here.
The Miami FC enter Friday’s contest versus a struggling Charleston side with a wide variety of quality in their performances. Miami is 1-1-1 in their last three matches which includes a hard fought draw against Pittsburgh after an epic second half collapse to Rio Grande Valley. Currently sitting fifth in the Atlantic Division, the boys in blue and orange have some work to do if they wish to make up ground on division leaders Tampa Bay.
It’s hard to imagine the first half of Miami FC’s match against Rio Grande Valley FC last weekend going any better. Unfortunately, it’s also hard to imagine the second half going much worse.
The Miami FC took an early lead Sunday, but a red card and second-half meltdown cost the club three points, losing to Rio Grande Valley FC 4-2.