Fans began to file into Milander Park in early on Sunday to catch the return of Adriano to the pitch. With a strong atmosphere to start the game, the fans expected to see Adriano’s long- awaited return to the pitch, instead, they saw the defending Sunshine Conference Champions Miami Fusion spoil the return of L’Imperatore in a 5-0 blowout fashion.
The action began early in the game thanks to a goal by David Santamaria, who was able to grab a rebound after teammate Alain Faccinni’s shot was deflected by the Miami United defense.
In the 21st minute, Wellington Cafú, son of the legendary Brazilian captain Cafú, had United’s first meaningful shot of the game as the Brazilian shot from 10 yards out but it was not a problem for Fusion’s Peterson Occenat.
United’s best shot of the game came in the 30th minute as Ezequiel Tejeira shot a screamer from 20 yards out, but an outstretched Occenat was able to stop it with his fingertips.
Before the end of the first half, the Fusion doubled their score, as Santamaria made his second of the match after a Fusion cross found the forward in the box and his shot was just over the reach of United keeper Camilo Neira.
In the 58th minute, the Fusion added to its lead as Stefano Fanfoni send a beautiful shot from 25 yards leaving Neira unable to defend.
In his first game in over two years, Adriano, who still isn’t at 100 percent, seemed to still be getting accustomed to United’s style of play learning how to play with his teammates, having not played much with the ball, and only being able to have five touches.
Adriano’s best chance of the night was in the 27th minute, where he was on top of the ball as United had a free kick opportunity from 15 yards out. As the fans cheered, Adriano’s shot hit the wall.
“Obviously, I’m not at 100 percent,” added Adriano. “I’d say I’m currently at 60 and the other 40 will come as we continue to practice and play this season we will be able to play.”
“This wasn’t my best game,” admitted Adriano. “But we need to keep calm and train hard this week.”
Despite being one man down, the Fusion continued to attack and in the 83rd minute, Alain Faccinni had a wide-open goal as he put it away giving the defending Sunshine Conference Champions the 4-0 lead. The Fusion added to the lead in the 88th minute when Juan Gonzalez coolly sank a penalty kick to give the visitors the 5-0 lead.
“We didn’t gameplan for Adriano,” says Fusion coach Giuseppe DePalo. “We came into the game wanting to defend our Sunshine Conference title and to be able to come into their home stadium and win 5-0 was a huge statement for our club.”
United will have one week to fix their mistakes, as expansion-side Tampa Bay Rowdies 2 head to Milander Park on May 8th.