Miami Sports Day

NASL: Miami FC Battles Minnesota to Draw at Home

The Miami FC hosted Minnesota United FC on Saturday night in front of the second largest crowd in Club history, as 9,739 fans cheered the entire 90 minutes while the teams battled to a 1-1 draw. The Orange and Blue has earned at least a point for the third game in a row as the squad continues to fight its way to the top of the table.

“This was the third match in one week and I think we played well” said Head Coach Alessandro Nesta. “Now we have a week to rest up and get ready for our important trip to Puerto Rico.”

For much of the first half, both teams were gridlocked in an even affair. While Miami couldn’t keep the flow on offense going due to Minnesota’s frequent fouling, Minnesota settled for long-distance shots that didn’t threaten Daniel Vega much at all.

In the 16th minute, though, Miami began to amp up the pressure. First, Blake Smith got around on a volley after some nice build-up play among the forwards, but his shot missed. Seconds later, Dario Cvitanich found the ball at his feet with only the goalkeeper in sight and Poku streaking next to him. Unfortunately, the offside flag went up and the play was whistled dead.

The best chance of the game came in the 35th minute as Ariel Martinez stroked in a pinpoint diagonal pass from the right wing into the path of Cvitanich, who timed his run perfectly, slipping past the opposing backline. Cvitanich got on the end of the pass with his left foot, chipping it over the goalkeeper but just over the crossbar.

After the half, Miami’s continued dominance paid off as they broke the tie with a Poku goal in the 51st minute. Calvin Rezende gained control of the ball on the left wing and swung in a seeing-eye cross that brought the goalkeeper out of position, allowing Poku to tap it in calmly from a few yards out.

Rezende was a constant thorn in Minnesota’s right side. Along with Smith, the left-footed duo frequently dictated play from the left wing and caused panic with their dribbles and crosses.

Minnesota answered back in the 58th minute, bringing the score to 1-1, when a long ball made its way to Lance Laing’s left foot, which he used to chip Vega from outside the box on a one-time volley into the goal.

Substitute Vincenzo Rennella came on in the 79th minute and immediately made his presence known. Just two minutes after coming in, he struck a well-paced ball that barely went wide of the outstretched goalkeeper. A moment later, he corralled a ball in the box with his back to the goal. He flicked the ball up to set up his own bicycle attempt, but the ball went just over the bar.

Rennella almost got a last-minute goal, only to see his late effort be saved by the goalkeeper. Miami pushed hard to get a deciding goal near the end, but ultimately the Orange and Blue walked away with another point in the Fall Season standings.

The Miami FC heads to Bayamon, Puerto Rico to take on Puerto Rico FC Sept. 3—their first game against the fellow NASL newcomers.

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