Miami FC

Miami FC returns to play

Disappointing 4-3 loss to Atlanta United 2

KENNESAW, Ga. (July 29, 2020) The Miami FC returned to action for the first time in 145 days, dropping a 4-3 decision to Atlanta United 2 in the USL Championship at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga. Miami came out strong in both halves, but mistakes on defence ended up costing the team the game.

Early on, Miami took the early advantage on a goal in minute 13 by forward Mohamed Thiaw. It was his 17th overall goal as a Miami FC player and his first goal of the USL Championship season. The goal came from the edge of the six-yard box after a shot by forward Miguel Gonzalez. 

Mo Thiaw makes it 1-0 for Miami

The very young Atlanta side reacted well after giving up the early goal. They Five Stripes created a lot of pressure on Miami’s defence and had a number of clear chances to equalize. They finally put the ball in to the net near the end of the first half, on a strike by forward Mackie Diop that came in from a cross from midfielder Jack Gurr.

After the restart, the Miami FC looked again like the more dominant side. About a minute and a half into the half, Colombian forward Sebastian Velásquez scored his first goal of the season to put the visitors up 2-1. Miami midfielder Harrison Heath, who turned in an excellent performance on the night, was a key contributor on the play, forcing a turnover deep in Atlanta’s own half, then recovering the ball and finding his way into the box. Velásquez was left with an easy sitter just outside the six-yard box.

They say a 2-1 lead is the most dangerous lead in fútbol, and the old addage turned out to be true on this occasion. Atlanta immediately equalized 2-2. Amadou Macky Diop took advantage of a failed clearance and blasted his shot past Miami goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre.

Atlanta then took a 3-2 lead minutes later. A nicely-executed free kick by Jack Gurr led to Jackson Conway finding himself open around the penalty spot. Conway easily smashed his shot past Sylvestre. Unfortunately, the young forward forgot he was playing on a yellow, and celebrated his goal by taking off his shirt, resulting in a second yellow and a sending off.

Despite being up a man, Miami was unable to draw even over the last twenty minutes of the game, and it was Atlanta that produced another goal in the 87th minute. With Miami caught further up field, second half substitute David Mejia Scored on a header at the far post to give Atlanta a 4-2 lead with just minutes left.

Miami mounted a late challenge with a goal by Romario Williams in second-half stoppage time, but time ran out and Atlanta kept all three points in the Peach State.

The Aqua, Blue and Orange are now 0-0-2 on the COVID-19 shortened regular season. The club currently sits last in Group H. There will be a chance though to get back to the winning ways the team is more known for as Miami gets ready for a home and away match up against in-state rivals the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Starting Lineups
Miami FC (4-3-3): GK Brian Sylvestre; D Marco Franco, Hassan Ndam (Jalen Markey 75′), Brenton Griffiths (Othello Bah 90′), Janos Löbe (Lloyd Sam 76′); M Tomas Granitto, Harrison Heath, Lance Rozeboom (c); F Sebastian Velasquez (Romario Williams 82′), Mohamed Thiaw, Miguel Gonzalez (Hector Morales 90′)

ATL UTD 2 (3-4-3): GK Ben Lungaard; D Garrison Tubbs, Modou Jadama, Jack Gurr; M Coleman Gannon (Daniel Steedman 82′), William Reilly, Baboucarr Nije (Lamin Jawneh 90′), Caleb Wiley; F Amadou Diop (David Mejia 83′), Jackson Conway, Phillip Goodrum (Amir Bashti 75′)

Scoring Summary
Miami: Mohamed Thiaw – 13th minute (Assisted by Miguel Gonzalez)
Atlanta: Macky Diop – 41st minute (Assisted by Jack Gurr)
Miami: Sebastian Velasquez – 46th minute (Assisted by Harrison Heath)
Atlanta: Macky Diop – 47th minute
Atlanta: Jackson Conway – 69th minute (Assisted by Jack Durr)
Atlanta: David Mejia – 87th minute (Assisted by Amir Bashti)
Miami: Romario Williams – 97th minute (Assisted by Harrison Heath)

Caution Summary
Atlanta: Jackson Conway – 15th minute
Atlanta: Modou Jadama – 57th minute
Atlanta: Caleb Wiley – 64th minute
Miami: Miguel Gonzalez – 68th minute
Atlanta: Jackson Conway – 69th minute (Second Yellow)
Atlanta: Amir Bashti – 81st minute
Miami: Brenton Griffiths – 83rd minute
Miami: Bah Othello – 93rd minute
Atlanta: David Mejia – 95th minute

Next Game

Miami FC returns home to Riccardo Silva stadium for a match versus the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Friday night, August 7th at 7:30 pm ET. the match will be televised on ESPN+ but will be closed to fans.

By Ken Russo

While my background is in the legal industry, the skills acquired and fine-tuned in law practice are now applied to focus on the sport of football. Russo Soccer aims to inform, educate and engage on news and relevant issues in the game.

Um advogado por formação, concentro meu trabalho nos negócios, comunicações e operações de equipes no futebol mundial. | Abogado con fundación avanzada en comunicaciones, enfocado en los negocios del fútbol y las comunicaciones. | Je suis un avocat experimenté dans les affaires de football.