The Miami FC 2: Regular Season Recap

Aug 1, 2018

With the NPSL National Final squarely in Miami FC 2's sights, the Orange and Blue has a chance to look back at its 2018 season with great admiration. Though there were some bumps in the road, Miami showed its talent and resolve throughout a triumphant regular season.

An Inauspicious Beginning

Coming into the 2018 season, Miami was expected to comfortably top its conference. The former NASL side was considered a favorite to win the NPSL trophy due to its talent and quality throughout the depth chart.

The Orange and Blue's regular season began with an away-home set against Miami United FC, in what was deemed the Magic City Clásico. In the season opener at Milander Park, Miami FC 2 went down by a goal to its intracity rival, but a late, dramatic Jaime Chávez winner with mere seconds left in the match earned Miami a point on the road.

The following week, the Orange and Blue hosted Miami United at Bobcat Field at St. Thomas University. In a match that featured fireworks on the field, two players from each team were sent off. An early Jeff Michaud goal put Miami in control nine minutes into the match, but Elusma Pierre's header in the third minute of stoppage time in the first half gave Miami United a much-needed equalizer. A feisty second half featured more bickering than playing, and the match ended 1-1.

For the third straight match, Miami FC 2 battled to a 1-1 draw. Hosting Jacksonville Armada FC, the Orange and Blue surrendered a goal to its former NASL comrades midway into the first half, when Wesley Charpie buried a close-range effort. Miami's equalizer came at the hour mark after Chávez set up Ariel Martínez to beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation.

With three-consecutive 1-1 draws, Miami needed to find its footing after the quarter mark of the season.

A Long Layoff, An Outpouring of Goals

Miami took a one-month break from NPSL action to participated in three U.S. Open Cup matches.

Returning to its regular season on May 26, Miami traveled north to take on Palm Beach United. In search for its first victory, the Orange and Blue encountered a tough, stubborn defense, but a penalty by Palm Beach's goalkeeper committed on Michaud gave Miami a chance to go ahead in the 51st minute. Don Smart stepped up to take the penalty and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way. Miami escaped with a 1-0 road win.

Over its next two matches, Miami tallied a whopping 12 goals, churning out 7-0 and 5-0 victories against Storm FC and Boca Raton FC, respectively. Chávez scored four goals in the two matches, while Smart and Dylan Mares earned braces. 

A Road Loss, A Start of Something Special

Flying high off of two lopsided victories, Miami was dealt a tough hand having to travel to Jacksonville to take on the stout Armada defense. A Derek Gebhard goal in the ninth minute allowed Jacksonville to play its preferred style of defending and counter-attacking, and Miami couldn't find a goal throughout the 90 minutes.

Invigorated by its first loss to Jacksonville since 2016, Miami went on a tear to end the regular season. In its final five matches, the Orange and Blue won every match, outscoring its opponents 14-1. The hot streak allowed for Miami to finish atop the Sunshine Conference, earning the Orange and Blue a first round bye in the Conference Playoffs. 

Miami FC 2 has since used its five-match winning streak to end the regular season as a springboard for the playoffs. Miami's streak has been extended to nine matches, and the combined scoreline during the streak is now 25-3 in favor of the Orange and Blue.