Miami FC May Be Soccer’s Best-Kept Secret

vs.JAX-9729.jpg NESTA

By JACK BELL

downloadNot a lot of people have noticed, but Miami FC is styling a seven-point lead atop the North American Soccer League’s Spring Season table ahead of Saturday’s game against the visiting New York Cosmos. The club is also looking ahead to its Round of 16 match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against Atlanta United on June 28.

As the Italian media entrepreneur Riccardo Silva has spent lavishly on his roster and the college stadium where his team plays (paying for new artificial turf), Miami Beckham United has for four years been trying to plant a flag and build a stadium. David Beckham and his representatives assiduously inserted a clause into his contract before he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy that bestowed the rights to a team for $25 million, a figure that now palls next to the $150-$200 million that Major League Soccer is set to receive from four new teams set to join over the next few years.

In the shadow of the ongoing Beckham soap opera, Miami FC, led by Coach Alessandro Nesta, has built an imposing roster. The team is led by the NYCFC cast-off Kwadwu Poku, who has been called in by Ghana’s national team for friendlies against the United States and Mexico. There is a possibility that Poku will miss the Open Cup match against Atlanta United, though nothing is certain.

Nesta has surrounded Poku with a strong supporting cast that includes Stefano Pinho (who scored a hat trick in Miami’s Open Cup win over Orlando City), Vincenzo Rennella (who leads the NASL with 7 goals and 4 assists), the Cuban international Ariel Martínez, and the former Cosmos players Hunter Freeman and Michael Lahoud. But perhaps the club’s most important acquisition in the off-season was the signing of the free-agent midfielder Dylan Mares from Indy Eleven.

Miami FC (8-2-13, 27 points) is unbeaten in its last nine league games dating to a 2-0 loss to the visiting Cosmos (5-2-45, 20) on April 8. Miami leads the NASL with 21 goals scored and 8 goals against through 12 games. A victory over New York on Saturday night would give Miami a 10-point bulge over the two-time defending league champion and a clear route to winning the Spring Season and the berth in The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament.

The Cosmos enter the game against Miami FC having lost only once in league play in their past 10 games. New York, which has scored only five goals in five road games but has yet to lose (3-0-2) away from MCU Park, bolstered its offense on Tuesday by re-signing striker Lucky Mkosana. Mkosana most recently played in Finland.

There is a well run, entertaining pro soccer team in South Florida and its @themiamifc!