Miami Sports Day

NASL: Miami Moves into Second Place with 1-0 Win

MIAMI, Fla. –  Before a raucous midweek crowd of nearly 7,000 fans, the Miami FC downed the Carolina RailHawks 1-0 on the back of a Dario Cvitanich goal.

The win moves Miami’s only professional soccer team into second place in the NASL Fall Season.

“I am very happy with the result but there is still work to be done,” said Head Coach Alessandro Nesta. “We need energy and all of our guys fit, so now our focus is to recover.”

The team had some good offensive movements early. Vincenzo Rennella troubled Carolina goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre with a bouncing shot in the sixth minute. Just a minute later, Aaron Dennis freed himself after a lovely turn to earn a corner.

In the 13th minute, some creative build-up play from the entire team ended in an Ariel Martinez shot that seemed destined for goal but was blocked by Sylvestre. Jonny Steele played the ball to the middle of the field where Martinez allowed it to pass for Wilson Palacios to one-touch it back to him before Martinez unleashed the shot.

Miami had a golden opportunity on a free kick in the 23rd minute. Steele played an in-swinging ball that landed at the feet of Rhett Bernstein, but his first-touch shot was just a bit too heavy, sending it wide.

Five minutes later, Dennis got free once again on the left-hand side and forced Sylvestre into an uncomfortably acrobatic save.

In the 44th minute, Gabriel Farfán preserved the clean sheet by clearing the ball off the line with a sprawling maneuver that kept the game tied at 0-0.

It was all Miami in the first half, but a few solid saves by the Carolina goalkeeper kept the score even.

The second half began just as the first half ended, with a threatening offensive movement from Miami that saw Rennella miss just wide on a header from a Dennis cross.

Hunter Freeman launched some dynamic diagonal passes into the box from his right back position. Rhett Bernstein nearly steered in a header from one of those passes in the 57th minute, but it glanced wide.

Dennis got loose yet again in the 70th minute, cutting inside and shaking his defender before getting off a low, curling shot. Once again, Sylvestre got a hand on it.

Dennis was outstanding in his first career start. He was a constant thorn in Carolina’s defensive side, drawing aggressive fouls that led to prime offensive positioning for Miami. His rapid pace caused a lot of problems for the defense down the left wing.

Cvitanich replaced Dennis in the 76th minute after Dennis picked up a knock. Just a minute after coming on, Cvitanich won the ball with a tackle in Carolina’s defensive area. He dribbled a bit to his right and calmly finessed the ball into the top right corner of the goal, giving Miami a 1-0 lead.

In the 90th minute, Blake Smith nearly gave Miami a 2-0 lead when he drove a hard, low shot that Sylvestre did well to push wide.

The Miami FC heads to Indianapolis to take on Indy Eleven next Saturday, September 17. Be sure to join the Dade Brigade and the Miami FC faithful at the official watch party at Fritz and Franz.

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