Memphis, Tenn. (Saturday, April 30) – The Miami Football Club ended Memphis 901 FC’s five-game unbeaten streak after a 2-1 win at AutoZone Park. Former Memphis 901 players Kyle Murphy and Pierre da Silva led Miami FC to a victory, scoring the goals on Saturday night
Head coach Anthony Pulis deployed his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation with captain Paco Craig leading the team from the back after missing Miami FC’s previous two matches against Phoenix Rising and Inter Miami CF with a leg injury. Striker Kyle Murphy, who scored 21 goals for Memphis 901 FC last year, returned to the starting lineup to face his former side.
First half breakdown
Murphy celebrated his homecoming with a goal within the opening ten minutes. Attacking midfielder Florian Valot anticipated a throw-in in front of the Memphis 901 FC bench, drove the ball infield and dished out a pass to the ex-Memphis forward. Murphy tucked the ball past goalkeeper Trey Muse with his left foot to give Miami FC after just seven minutes of play.
The Orange and Blue double their lead in the 11th minute after wingers Josh Pérez and Pierre da Silva combined for their third goal of the year. The Salvadorian beat defenders with speed on the right-wing and crossed the ball into the six-yard box. Pérez’s cross was parried by the keeper, and Da Silva reacted before the defenders around him to poke the ball into the goal.
Despite finishing the half leading the game two goals to zero, Miami FC trailed in possession and chance creation statistics. Memphis dominated possession with 57 percent of it and created nine shots, two on target, compared to Miami’s three shots on frame. The visitors headed into the locker room with 100 percent shooting accuracy, creating and converting the only two clear chances of the first half.
Second half breakdown
Memphis 901 FC made three substitutions during the break. On the other hand, Pulis started the second half with the same 11. However, defender Junior Palacios came in for goalscorer Da Silva in the 58th minute. Former Memphis right-back Mark Segbers pushed up to play on the right-wing, while Palacios filled in as a right-back.
Memphis lived its first dangerous attacking chance of the evening in the 58th minute. Defender Rece Buckmaster sent a curling cross from a wide-angle, making goalkeeper Connor Sparrow dive for the first time in the encounter. The 27-year-old deflected the cross into the patch of substitute Chris Allan, whose shot struck the crossbar.
Sparrow shined twice again in quick succession in the 72nd minute. The St. Louis native flew high to block a free-kick attempt from Aaron Molloy and dealt well with the corner after.
Memphis 901 FC found the back of the net in the 76th minute, thanks to a Laurent Kissiedou right-footed shot from outside the 18-yard-box that beat Sparrow to his lower right corner.
Pulis brought in forwards Adonijah Reid, Christian Sorto and Romeo Parkes for Murphy, Pérez and Valot in a span of three minutes after Memphis’ goal.
Parkes had back-to-back clear chances in front of the goal to seal the match in the 88th and 89th minutes, but Muse blocked both shot attempts. The Jamaican drove the ball up the opponent’s half, beat a defender with a sharp cut and had a go at goal in the first chance. The second attempt was a chipped shot blocked from the top of the box.
Nonetheless, Miami FC held onto the 2-1 lead, bringing three points back to the 305. At the time of the victory, Miami sits in fifth place in the USL Championship Eastern Conference, tied in points – 13 – with Memphis and Tampa Bay.
Memphis 901 FC 1-2 Miami FC: match notes
Miami FC won its second away game of the season. The other win away from home came against Tampa Bay Rowdies at St. Petersburg, Fla. The Orange and Blue hold a 2-2 record on the road.
Da Silva and Murphy, both former Memphis 901 FC players, scored their second goal in league play this season.
Da Silva and Pérez have combined for three goals this season. The first goal combination against Tampa Bay Rowdies, with Da Silva scoring a rebound from a shot produced by Pérez. The second happened against Phoenix Rising, with Pérez scoring a diving header thanks to a deep cross from Da Silva.
Valot produced his second assist of the year.
Up next for the Miami FC
Miami FC will conclude its three-match away journey against Birmingham Legion on Wednesday, May 4. The Orange and Blue will have ten days to regroup before returning to league play at FIU Stadium.
MFC’s next home match is against San Antonio on Saturday, May 14. You can buy tickets ahead of time here.