Recap: The Miami FC Opens 2017 With 1-1 Draw in North Carolina

Mar 25, 2017

Photo Credit: North Carolina FC

CARY, N.C. (March 25, 2017) – The Miami FC opened the 2017 season, Saturday night, on the road against North Carolina FC. A back and forth battle on the pitch ended in a 1-1 draw, as the club picked up a point in the first match of the season.

“After the early goal I think we played a very good first half,” said Head Coach Alessandro Nesta. “We came into the match with many injures and both teams looked tired in the last 30 minutes, so I am happy to take a point from the match.”

Things did not start the way Nesta and the boys would have wanted.

North Carolina FC was able to get on the board in just the fourth minute. A Hunter Freeman pass was intercepted by NCFC’s Lance Laing. Laing then played the ball into forward Matt Fondy who finished off the chance.

The Miami FC was able to right the ship after the early misstep, equalizing in the 14th minute with a round-about goal.

Newcomer Dylan Mares played an excellent through ball, putting Poku in a 1v1 situation. Poku’s first shot was blocked by the keeper, but the ball fell at the feet of Stefano Pinho. Pinho’s shot was blocked by his own teammate Poku, but Poku quickly recovered to finally put the ball in the back of the net.

As halftime approached, the Orange and Blue began to take control of the match.

The 44th minute saw Mares rip a great shot from distance that was destined for the upper 90 if not for a full stretch save by Brian Sylvestre.

In extra time, a strong Poku run sparked a Miami FC counter attack. As he thundered forward, he was joined by Pinho who eventually received the ball. Pinho was able to squeeze off a shot but it was saved, sending both teams to the locker room knotted up at 1-1.

North Carolina FC came out of the gates fast, creating multiple chances early on. Goalkeeper Daniel Vega was up to the task, coming up with two huge back-to-back saves in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Farfán carried his deft distribution into the second half. The 68th minute saw him play in another great cross towards the Orange and Blue’s three forwards, but it was punched away at the last second.

As time ticked away, North Carolina FC was able to play dangerous crosses, but never had a target to finish off the chances.

Deep into the match forward Vincenzo Rennella was subbed in and had an instant impact. In the 86th minute, Rennella was ambushed by three NCFC defenders, but he easily escaped with some fantastic dribbling. Clear of danger, Rennella sent a quality cross that could not connect with a teammate.

The 90th minute saw, Roughneck Man of the Match, Mares curl in a fantastic shot that just missed the upper 90 for a second time and nearly gave the Miami FC a game winner.

The final action of the match saw a Rennella free kick that was off target, sending the Miami FC home with a 1-1 draw.

The Miami FC ends a two-match road trip, next Saturday, April 1 when the club takes on the New York Cosmos.

The Orange and Blue finally return to Miami for the Home Opener, presented by Metro PCS, April 8 as the Cosmos make the trip down South. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the football stadium at FIU! Get your ticket now at!

Quick Hits

Starting Xl
GK - 
DEF - Baggio, Trafford, Freeman, Farfán
MID - Ryan, Mares, Lahoud, Poku
FWD - Pinho, Chávez

4’ – Fondy (NCFC)
14’ – Poku (MIA)

18’ – 
Farfán (Yellow)
22’ – Freeman (Yellow)
45+2’ – Pinho (Yellow)
87’ – Mares (Yellow)
90+2’ – Ibeagha (Yellow)

Shots: 11
Passes: 473
Pass Accuracy: 83.5%
Clearances: 12
Tackles: 9