April 21, 2017 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Miami FC
MIAMI -¬†The Miami FC is back at Riccardo Silva Stadium, Saturday, April 22 when the club hosts North Carolina FC. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and tickets are still available at¬†MiamiFC.com/Tickets.
Close Wasn\'t Good Enough
The Miami FC played its first match at Riccardo Silva Stadium last week, taking on the New York Cosmos. The Orange and Blue dominated in every facet of the match but didn\'t get the¬†final score it was looking for.
The first half saw the Miami FC nearly score three times and a magnificent save by Goalkeeper Daniel Vega. The Club\'s best chance came just as the first half ended when forward Vincenzo Rennella played a perfect pass to strike partner St√©fano Pinho whose point-blank shot ricocheted of the near post.
In the 53rd minute the Miami FC would once again create a great chance only to be denied by the post. Youngster Robert Baggio Kcira pushed up from his defensive post and hit a powerful shot that forced Cosmos\' keeper Jimmy Maurer to make a great save. The rebound fell to the feet of Poku who fought off a New York defender, for his shot to only ping off the post.
Five minutes later, the Cosmos\' Danny Szetela headed home a cross to give New York a 1-0 lead.
The Miami FC would continue to get close all night, but eventually fell to the Cosmos 2-0.
As Close as it Gets
The Miami FC and North Carolina FC have faced off four times and only one goal separates the two clubs in the overall series. The four clashes produced three draws, one win and nine goals.
The two sides opened the 2017 season against each other with a match played in Cary, N.C. A typical hard-fought match played out on the field adding another deadlock to the series. NCFC scored just four minutes into the match, but midfielder Poku would net the equalizer in the 13th minute.
The Orange and Blue¬†own the only victory in the series, taking down North Carolina FC at Riccardo Silva Stadium late last season, 1-0. Former striker Dario Cvitanich subbed into the match in the 76th minute and seconds later pounced on a loose ball at the top of the North Carolina box and hit the game winner.
Miami will look to use home field advantage again this Saturday and pick up another victory in this tightly contested rivalry.
Burning the Candle on Both Ends
The Miami FC has been one of the best offenses in the league this season with great passing and continuity leading to great scoring opportunities.
Miami leads the NASL in total shots this season, taking 45 in just three matches. The club has also put 17 on target, tied for the best mark in the league. All these chances have led to¬†four goals, one off the league high.
Tomorrow\'s opponent also features a potent offense. NCFC have taken 37 shots this season, put 17 on target and netted an NASL-best five goals in 2017. North Carolina\'s offensive efforts had not paid off till last week, when it netted three goals¬†against FC Edmonton for the club\'s first victory of the season
The Orange and Blue own one of the stingiest defenses in the league after three matches. Opposing teams have only been able to put seven shots on goal and score two goals from the run of play. Only the Jacksonville Armada have been better on defense, allowing six shots on goal while keeping three clean sheets.
Players to Watch
Vincenzo Rennella¬†has been a dynamite up front for the Miami FC.
Through three matches, he has taken a team-high seven shots and four on target. Rennella has also completed 75% of his passes and created two scoring chances.
Last match marked Rennella\'s first start and he took full advantage of it. In 90 blistering minutes, he fired five shots, two on target and created two other scoring opportunities, including one that lead to a point blank shot that hit the post.
Rennella joined the Miami FC late in 2016 and made an instant impact, scoring three goals for the Orange and Blue as the club pushed for a spot in the playoffs.
Richie Ryan¬†is the unsung engine of the Miami FC offense. The Irish veteran acts as the initiator for every attack and the safety valve for his teammates when they are under pressure.
Ryan has played all 270 minutes of the 2017 season. He has completed 161 passes at an 88% clip, while creating four scoring chances.
Last week, he completed 42 of his 47 passes, created a chance and won five duels in the midfield.
Ryan came to the Miami FC early on in the 2016 season and helped lead the club\'s second half turnaround. ¬†
The Miami FC closes out a three-match home stand next Saturday, April 29 when FC Edmonton comes south to Riccardo Silva Stadium on Cuban Heritage Night. Get your ticket now at¬†MiamiFC.com/Tickets!
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