By The Miami FC
The Miami FC began its 2019 NPSL Playoffs run with a 4-0 victory over Jacksonville Armada FC U-23 in the NPSL Sunshine Conference semifinals.
Miami came out on the forefoot, aiming to recapture its playoff form from last season. Within the first two minutes, Miami created two prime scoring opportunities.
The first was a well-connected play from the midfield with Tomás Granitto starting up the play by passing it forward to Mohamed Thiaw, who used a back-heel through ball to get Miguel González a look at goal, but Jacksonville goalkeeper Steven Tekesky came out at the last second and snuffed out the play before González could get a final touch.
Immediately after that play, the Orange and Blue threatened to open the scoring again. Ariel Martínez played a ball out wide to Darío Suárez, who got himself loose down the left wing and laced a pass across the face of goal to Thiaw at the far post, but Thiaw pushed his finish just wide.
The floodgates finally opened in the 24th minute, when Miami easily dealt with a Jacksonville free kick and started up a quick counter attack. Dylan Mares roamed forward rapidly with the ball and played a long through ball into Suárez’ path to put him through on goal. A defender closed quickly and was able to challenge Suárez’ shot, but the ball was struck with enough power and bounced into the goal to put Miami up 1-0.
Miami finished the first half with four more shots on goal than Jacksonville, but the Orange and Blue found it difficult to convert its chances into goals.
Just as it has all season, Miami FC became more dynamic and deadly in front of goal in the second half.
It took just four minutes after the break for the Orange and Blue to double its lead. Mares used another pinpoint through ball to split open the left side of Jacksonville’s defense. Thiaw dummied the pass and allowed Lloyd Sam to run on to the ball near the end line. Sam crossed the ball with pace and found Martínez, who catapulted the ball into the top of the net for the second goal of the match.
In the 65th minute, left back Othello Bah made an instant impact as a substitute. After coming on just two minutes before, Bah took charge of the ball on the left wing, shook his defender and whipped in a powerful low cross that Mohamed Thiaw redirected into the right side of the net to give Miami a 3-0 advantage.
Miami’s fourth and final goal came in the 76th minute as Jacksonville’s defense was tiring out. An over the top ball from Shawn Chin landed in Thiaw’s path to the box. Thiaw faked as if he was going to play a ball into the middle of the box, opened up his body, and slotted it past the goalkeeper to put a stamp on Miami’s victory.
The Miami FC will now host the Sunshine Conference final against Miami United FC on Saturday, July 13th at Buccaneer Field at Barry University.
Photo Credit: Orovio Photography