After 15 minutes Saturday night, you would have thought Inter Miami CF and Atlanta United FC were in for a blazing shootout. Some 75 minutes later, it was a scratch-and-claw victory for the Herons, hanging on for a 2-1 victory and three more points from the Peach State.
The Miami FC finally recorded an away win in the USL Championship with a 2-1 victory over ATL UTD 2, thanks to a second-half strike by Miguel Gonzalez.
The main conductor of the attacking play in the draw vs Charleston Battery, Sebastian Velasquez, didn’t make the trip. Possibly Paul Dalglish did not want to risk him against Atlanta’s no-nonsense tackling. Lloyd Sam dropped to the bench. In came Gonzalez and Griffiths. Again a back three was deployed with Hassan Ndam as sweeper.
Atlanta set out to disrupt Miami’s possession and gave no quarter in the 50/50s. Jalen Markey was bundled over more than once but despite the persistent fouling from the home side, the ref kept his cards in his pocket.
Miami stood up to the physical challenge from the hosts and took the lead when Romario Williams tapped in a rebound after Atlanta keeper Ben Lundgaard spilled a Tomas Granitto free kick. Williams looked to be in the mood for a goal after failing to find the net since the 2-1 over Charlotte last month. His movement was good, he was taking players on with confidence. A great night for the number 9.
— The Miami FC (@TheMiamiFC) September 12, 2020
In a familiar story for FC fans, Atlanta equalized minutes later. The Miami defense failed to clear a loose ball in the area, Ajani Fortune firing home a great effort. Miami have been much improved of late, especially at the back, but this was an echo of past collapses. Thankfully they steadied themselves and made it to half time tied up 1-1.
Sometimes you just feel a game is going the way of one of the teams. Last night it was our turn and Miami wouldn’t be denied three vital points. Miguel Gonzalez was the hero of the hour with a crisp finish from the edge of the area after a corner early in the second half. It’s two goals in two games for Miguel now. His confident, first-time finish for the goal sums up Miami FC’s renaissance. A bit of belief and swagger is coming back.
— The Miami FC (@TheMiamiFC) September 13, 2020
ATLUTD2 had a couple of chances to get level and even hit the crossbar, however Miami’s defense held firm. Keeper Mark Pais turned in a commanding performance. Mark controls his area so well and came bravely out of his goal to snuff out an Atlanta chance on the hour mark. Centerback Hassan Ndam was impressive too, as the Cameroonian provided a key block late in the game to ensure an important victory for the Orange and Blue.
90' – HUGE defensive tackle by Ndam to avoid the equalizer. pic.twitter.com/Lb3rfzsVrr
— The Miami FC (@TheMiamiFC) September 13, 2020
Although unlikely, the win means Miami still have a mathematical chance to catch second place in Group H, Charleston Battery. Next up is the “Magic City Derby,” as the Birmingham Legion will come to Riccardo Silva Stadium on Wednesday at 7:30pm, watch on ESPN+.
Inter Miami CF, coming off a 1-0 loss to fellow expansion side Nashville SC, will look to win on the road for the first time tonight, at Atlanta United.
The postponement was the first in Major League Soccer. A match between Nashville SC and Orlando City SC scheduled for 7:30 p.m. kicked off as scheduled. The Inter match was scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff.
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) August 27, 2020
“Black Players for Change asked us not to play, and I think at that point we respect them and we have to respect why we wear these [Black Lives Matter] shirts,” Inter Miami CF defender A.J. DeLaGarza told Inter Miami CF’s Kaylyn Kyle on the team’s broadcast after the match. “And that’s to make a change and to have our voices heard.”
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 26, 2020
The announcement was just the latest in a turbulent day in the world of sports, kicked off by the Milwaukee Bucks’ wildcat strike of its NBA Playoffs game against the Orlando Magic, originally scheduled for 4 p.m. The Bucks’ move was prompted by the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha, Wis. police officer Rusten Sheskey in the back seven times.
“Athletes have a huge platform, and we have to use that right now,” DeLaGarza said.
AJ DeLaGarza on tonight’s CBS My33 broadcast:
“We have to respect them and we have to respect why we wear these shirts, and that’s to make a change…
— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) August 27, 2020
Stay with Magic City Soccer as this story updates.
Soccer fans in South Florida have an interesting event to look forward to next week. The SPORTELSummit Miami Beach will bring a number of important figures in the sports world together to discuss the issues of the day. However, there are some notable absences that leave participants and followers asking: What happened?
A local soccer academy will be sending some of its best young players to square off against arguably the best professionally run developmental academy in the United States this weekend, as the Kendall Soccer Coalition will travel north to face off against Atlanta United FC.
Riccardo Silva couldn’t have dreamed it when he first formed The Miami FC.
9,000-plus fans. A hot but beautiful night. Major League Soccer competition on the field against his squad. A back-and-forth affair keeping everyone in their seats until the final seconds, when a Miami FC player streamed toward goal and finished a one-on-one opportunity to send the club into the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.
His, and many other, dreams were realized Wednesday night when Miami FC dispatched yet another Major League Soccer side from the U.S. Open Cup, this time toppling Atlanta United 3-2 with one of the best finishes a soccer fan could ever hope to see.
Remember when we said that the win against Orlando City SC was the biggest game The Miami FC’s history and had the biggest implications for soccer in this city? Well, we were a bit short sighted with regards to that statement. Tonight’s tilt against Atlanta United has usurped that title as Miami faces its toughest test yet.
A short roundup of coverage about Miami soccer in the news:
Pinho scored a hat trick in a 3-0 road upset of Orlando City SC (MLS) to become just the third Brazilian to win the award. The Player of the Round honor is voted on by the staff of TheCup.us and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters.
Neil W. Blackmon takes what could have been a press-release-style story and turns it into a really interesting look at Stéfano Pinho and his adjustment to change, specifically moving to a new part of the world and adapting to fatherhood.
Get ready for the biggest home match in The Miami FC’s history! We’ve got Matt, Drew, Omar and a special appearance by Lee Ifans on Magic City Soccer to talk about every angle of this matchup, plus much more! Join us, won’t you?