Recap: The Miami FC Opens Preseason with 2-1 Win Over USMNT U-19s

Feb 9, 2017

MIAMI (February 9, 2017) – The Miami FC hosted the United States’ U-19 squad, Thursday afternoon, at St. Thomas University in the club's first preseason match of 2017.

The first half saw the Orange and Blue build well from the back and goalkeeper Daniel Vega play savior multiple times.

Just minutes into the match, Vega came up with a 1v1 save after the U-19s' Mason Toye (PDA) was able to break through the Miami FC backline.

One of the newest additions to the midfield, Michel, had a strong match playing on the left side of the field. He played multiple great balls in the first half, creating chances for the likes of Jaime Chavez, Poku and Enzo Rennella.

Defender Rhett Bernstein captained the team for the first time and would come up with crucial blocks and slide tackles to keep the U-19’s off the scoreboard.

Late in the first half, defender Hunter Freeman delivered a corner kick far post to a wide open Poku. Poku attacked the ball and scored from a nearly impossible angle, putting the Orange and Blue ahead 1-0.

The Miami FC would go on to put more shots on goal in the first half, but would take the 1-0 advantage into halftime.

Head Coach Alessandro Nesta would deploy an entirely new line up in the second half that delivered similar results.

Cuban midfielder Ariel Martinez and newcomer Stefano Pinho played well in the second half, keeping the U-19 defense on its heels for 45 minutes.

The club's first chance of the second half came early on when Michel delivered a great cross that nearly found the head of defender Mason Trafford.

The U-19’s Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago Fire) would tie the match up in the second half after firing home a free kick into the top corner.

The Miami FC would respond almost immediately. Pinho created havoc on the right side of the box with some strong dribbling, eventually putting the ball back into the box. Forward Aaron Dennis would then muscle his way through a crowd of players and slot the ball into the back of the net to put the Orange and Blue up 2-1.

Late in the match, the Miami FC needed an extra body to finish out the match. In stepped the U-19’s Danny Griffin (Providence College). Griffin put in a solid effort contributing to the attack from the right side, picking out good passes and making strong runs.

Seconds before the final whistle blew, the U-19s worked a great chance. Fortunately, the shot hit the post, securing the Miami FC’s 2-1 victory.

The Miami FC's preseason schedule continues next week in Orlando as the club takes on the Toronto FC from Major League Soccer. The team will then travel to Bradenton for a matchup against the Chicago Fire from MLS, before returning home to face Barry University and the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL. All matches will be free and open to the public. 

The 2017 season kicks off on March 25 with the Miami FC coming home for the first time on Saturday, April 8 against the New York Cosmos. Visit or call 844-MIAMIFC to get your Season Ticket Plan now, with plans starting at just $15 per match.

Quick Hits

1st Half Starting Xl
GK - Vega
DEF - Michel, Bernstein, Ruthven, Freeman
MID - Rezende, Baggio, Poku, Steele 
FWD - Rennella, Chavez

2nd Half Starting Xl 
GK - Brown
DEF - Farfán, Adailton, Borrajo, Trafford
MID - Lahoud, Mares, Michel, Martinez
FWD - Pinho, Dennis

1st Half Goals
Poku – Miami FC

2nd Half Goals
Djordje Mihailovic – USMNT U-19
Aaron Dennis – Miami FC