Things did not go as planned for Miami FC 2 as their home opener at Bobcat Field in Miami Gardens did not go as many expected it to. What seemed like a return to form for the home side ended up being a fight for survival. In the end, Paul Dalglish´s men ended up drawing with cross-town rivals Miami United once again 1-1 in a match that was just as heated as their previous encounter just a week before at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah.
“I don’t know where to start,” Dalglish commented. “It’s a shame that it finished like that. Because at the start of the game we showed what we were all about. At the start of the game we showed how good we were. We dominated the game. That really should have put the game to bed in the first 20, 25 minutes. I thought we played some great football. We possessed the ball, got in behind, created chances. We could have been a few up. Obviously, the red card changes games.”
First Half Analysis
Things looked very good for the Orange and Blue as they came out with more purpose and took advantage of a very tentative Miami United side. It took nine minutes for Miami FC 2 to take the lead as a ball into the area was collected cleanly by Jeff Michaud and he was able to slot the ensuing shot into the back of the United goal to open the scoring. For Michaud it was his first goal with Miami FC 2 after having victimized this same club in previous editions of the U.S. Open Cup.
The goal was a wake-up call for United as they quickly regrouped and evened out the game in terms of play on the pitch. That would eventually lead to United´s equalizer in the final minute of stoppage time in the first half.
The match would turn on its head quickly after Tyler Ruthven was sent off in the 33rd minute after he was shown two yellow cards within seconds and Miami FC 2 played with ten men for the next 57 minutes. Being down a man did not make the game less physical. Instead the encounter continued to be chippy in the middle of the pitch as there were a total of nine yellow cards shown.
Second Half Analysis
By the end of the match, it would be Miami United that had the advantage in men, but the fitness favored the home side. Miami FC 2 were the team that had better incursions on the opposing goal, but they were unable to finish the chances with any type of danger. As the match turned into a back-and-forth encounter, it was Miami United that looked to both goalkeeper Daniel Vega from afar, but the visitors came close in the 58th minute when a screaming shot from about 25 yards out went just wide of goal. At the same time, the Miami United midfield did an impressive job of shutting down Miami FC 2’s passing game and forcing them to go to longer, more imprecise passing that allowed them to tilt the pitch in their face.
Michaud was the star of the match. Outside of his goal, he was able to show his Man of the Match worthiness with one slaloming run that saw him get tackled from behind by Sebastián Obregón in the 68th minute. The ensuing freekick was struck by a Miami United defender and the referee much to the displeasure of the home fans.
The match ended in disarray as both Elusma Pierre and Brian Martin were sent off after a rugged challenge on Dylan Mares. Mares, too, was shown red and both teams played the last few seconds of the match nine versus nine.
“We got to find a way to keep eleven players on the field and to win at this level,” Dalglish concluded.
Miami FC 2 will now look for the first win of the season as they will face Jacksonville Armada FC next Saturday. Miami United will host Naples United FC at Ted Hendricks Stadium.
Juan Arango – contributor
Photos – Juan Arango and Orovio Photography