Miami, Fla. (Monday, July 15, 2019) – Kenneth Russo / Photos by Felipe Galvez Tabach –
Saturday night’s latest rendition of the Magic City Clásico was indeed befitting of its title. Miami Football Club came from behind to defeat Miami United FC 3-2 in the NPSL Sunshine Conference Final at Barry University, capturing its sixth overall trophy in the process. The game was fiercely contested and thoroughly entertaining.
Miami United FC (4-4-2):
Miami FC Starting Lineup (4-3-3)
Cheered on by La 12 United and one of Inter Miami CF’s supporter groups, Vice City 1896, Miami United came into Buccaneer Field as the underdog but ready to send a message to their crosstown rivals. Roberto Sacca’s team had defeated Naples United last Wednesday in Naples to set up the matchup for the conference championship.
Unfortunately, United were without two key players; left-back Max Schenfeld and goalkeeper Peterson Occenat. Occenat has been suspended for an abuse of an official in the final regular-season match at Naples, while Schenfeld was serving a suspension due to being expelled in the semi-final.
Miami FC began the game with good ball movement and were able to get past the middle of the United defense. The first minutes saw an overhead bicycle kick attempt by Miami FC’s Mohamed Thiaw that went just over the net.
After two early chances by United, Miami FC then drew first blood. A free kick by Dylan Mares was mishandled by United defender Javier Chila during chaos in the box. The referee whistled for a handball in the area. Ariel Martinez, known as the “Magic City Mago,” stepped up to the penalty spot and chipped a “Panenka” (a chip shot) straight down the middle and past diving United goalkeeper Omar Estrada for a 1-0 Miami FC lead in the 8th minute.
United regained the momentum however. Midfielder Matheus Gotler narrowly missed scoring chances in the 23’ and 26’, one shot missing just to the right of goal and the other being deflected off the horizontal crossbar. United were throughly outplaying Miami FC and the effort paid dividends in the 34’ when Defender Bruno Camacho headed a corner kick by Gotler into the goal to equalise 1-1.
Four minutes later United were on the score sheet again as they broke out on a counterattack and a long aerial pass found forward Brian Parea, who beat defender Jalen Markey and crossed to Forward Shamar Shelton. Shelton raced in to meet the ball as it was rolling across the face of goal and was able to bury it into the net, promptly celebrating his goal with a perfectly executed forward somersault. United nearly added a third in first half stoppage time on a shot that was kicked out and high by a Miami FC defender. The 2-1 scoreline held at the halftime break.
Miami FC Manager Paul Dalglish seemed to make halftime adjustments and the club came out in full force in the second half, creating scoring chances and a couple of near misses. In the 57th minute a through ball by Mohamed Thiaw split the United defense open, finding Miguel González, who ran on to the ball and played it to the middle for Dylan Mares. The midfielder played the ball off to Martínez next to him, who unleashed a potent volley that beat an outstretched Omar Estrada to level at 2-2.
Ten minutes later a pass by Mares found Ariel Martinez in front of the Miami United goalkeeper. Martínez dribbled to his right and as keeper Omar Estrada came out, Martínez then played the ball to the middle of the box for Miguel González, who tapped the ball into the empty net and put Miami FC ahead, 3-2.
After taking the lead, Miami FC continued to attack, nearly adding to their advantage on a Mohamed Thiaw attempt in the 73rd minute that barely missed wide. United, however, were not finished and pressured a visibly tired Miami FC side late in the match. Miami FC’s defense met the challenge and held together during a long second half stoppage time caused by injuries and substitutions. As the referee blew the final whistle, a well played match saw Miami United fall just short. Miami FC thus went out victorious in the Sunshine Conference Final.
Next up for Miami FC is a match against Chattanooga FC, champions of the Southeast Conference, at Buccaneer Field at Barry University in the NPSL South Regional Semifinal, Tuesday, July 16th at 7 p.m. .
Miami FC goals 🎥 via Miami FC
Miami FC celebrates the victory. 🎥via Miami FC
- 9’ – Miami FC: Ariel Martínez (pen.)
- 34’ – Miami United: Bruno Camacho
- 38’ – Miami United: Shamar Shelton
- 57’ – Miami FC: Ariel Martínez
- 67’ – Miami FC: Miguel Gonzalez
- 46’ – Miami FC: Out – #45 Jalen Markey > In – #2 Othello Bah
- 64’ – Miami United: Out – #5 Ezequiel Tejera > In – #6 Juan González
- 69’ – Miami United: Out – #7 Shamar Shelton > In – #2 Darryl Gordon
- 70’ – Miami United: Out – #13 Juan Fuenmayor > In – #19 Nicolas Micoli
- 88’ – Miami United: Out – #26 Bernanrdo Chila > In – #8 Chris Nurse
- 88’ – Miami FC: Out – #12 Miguel González > In- #8 Tomás Granitto
- 90’ – Miami FC: Out – #10 Ariel Martínez > In – #17 Brian James
- 53’ – Miami United: Shamar Shelton.
- 68’ – Miami United: Bruno Camacho
- 78’ – Miami FC: Callum Chapman-Page
- 90+’ – Miami United: John Montaño
- 90+’ – Miami FC: Tomás Granitto.
Red Cards: None