Roots family it has been too long! I am back from (surprisingly) sunny Great Britain and Ireland and ready to party with you all in
Oakland Hayward. The Roots will host Miami FC at 7:00 p.m. Pacific at CSU East Bay in Hayward, California. The match will be available on ESPN+.
The team’s press release argues that the badge is “tactfully and carefully constructed” which each aspect reflecting “the true essence of the Miami community,” and if you think that sounds like protesting too much you are exactly right. The badge “features swirls, which convey the sway of a a palm trees’ [sic] fronds lining the city’s streets.” The “ball-styled globe creates a unique [?] symbol that represents the team’s commitment to soccer and reflects that Miami is a place that embraces all of the Americas.”
The “intense shade” of orange “embodies the adventurous spirit of Miami’s community and iconic sunsets over its horizon.”” The blue represents sky/teamwork/purpose and the aqua represents water. I can’t exactly put my finger on what makes the colors funny. I think it’s that I can see making the sun orange when it’s setting, but that other color isn’t blue, it’s purple, and if you’re doing a sunset the water isn’t really aqua anymore? It doesn’t really look like a sunset, it looks like a nerf gun.
Miami FC began life in the NASL in 2015 and moved to NPSL in 2018 where they were quite successful. Miami FC then jumped to NISA in 2019 where it won the Fall League East Coast Championship. A month later Miami purchased the USL Championship franchise rights from Ottawa Fury.
In 2020, Miami missed the playoffs with a 4-4-8 record, finishing third in their four-team group behind Charleston and eventual Conference-winner Tampa. In 2021 Miami took fourth in the Atlantic Division and lost their date with Louisville City in the first round of the playoffs. Last year Miami went 15-10-9 and finished sixth in the Eastern Conference with a mediocre goals output but a lockdown defense (fourth fewest goals in USL) and were again knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, this time by Tampa.
Miami emphasizes that they are the longest-tenured professional soccer club in Miami, which I suppose they are, with Inter only starting in 2018, but they also appear to draw 1,587 fans per game, putting them significantly behind Loudoun United and only ahead of Las Vegas, who have not hosted a league game yet.
Miami are owned by Riccardo Silva, the scion of a chemical company on one side and a publishing company on the other, who is also a co-owner of AC Milan. Silva has a disproportionately lengthy wikipedia for how boring his actual accomplishments appear to be. The club’s website not only includes three pictures of him, but specifies that he used to own and manage a media rights company from 2004 to 2016, but has subsequently sold it to two specified Chinese companies. This guy really wants you to think his business dealings are interesting. They are not.
The Miami are coached by Anthony Pulis, the son of Tony Pulis, who you may recall from his time coaching the “regularly intentionally injure opposing players” Stoke City. His boy, Anthony II, played for <takes a deep breath> Portsmouth, Stoke City, Torquay United, Plymouth Argyle, Grimsby Town, Bristol Rovers, Southampton, Lincoln City, Stockport County, Barnet, Aldershot Town, and Orlando City. According to his Wikipedia, he regularly attends church.
Are Miami FC Good?
Miami are 1-4-2, with their only win (highlighted below) over the winless Las Vegas Lights. Miami’s two losses are each the only victory of the struggling Tampa Bay Rowdies and New Mexico United. Their four draws are all to teams that are at or under .500. Miami’s defense is okay, conceding 1 per game is sustainable with a decent offense, but their offense is not decent, also scoring only 1 per game (and four of those coming in their one win). The silver lining, and cause for concern for Oakland, is that those four goals came against Vegas and Miami may have what could be described as momentum for the first time this season.
If you’re a Miami fan, what encourages you about these highlights is that both of Tampa Bay’s goals were brilliantly executed and are not really indictments of the Miami defense. What worries you is that the word “highlights” does not really apply to the replays of Miami’s attacks in the above video.
Just don’t even watch these highlights. Miami’s goalkeeper made a pretty impressive save late. You now know everything that happened.
Miami got its first win of the season last weekend in the Weekend Gone Horribly Wrong Derby.
Miami scored in the 6th and 8th minutes and in both instances the Lights’ defense was just sorta standing around watching. Miami got a third on a penalty and a fourth intercepting a wholly inept backpass. This match might have given Miami confidence, but I have never seen the Roots’ defense play as badly as Lights’ defense played in this match. Obviously it could happen, but this was not a USL Championship-level performance from Lights.
|March 11||at San Antonio FC||L||1||3|
|March 19||at RGV Toros||D||1||1|
|March 25||vs Memphis 901||???||???||???|
|April 1||vs New Mexico United||W||1||0|
|April 8||at Indy Eleven||W||3||0|
|April 15||vs Hartford||L||1||2|
|April 23||at Loudoun||L||0||2|
|April 29||vs Miami FC|||||||
|May 6||at Birmingham Legion|||||||
|May 13||vs Orb County|||||||
|May 20||at Sacramento|||||||
|May 27||vs San Diego Loyal|||||||
|June 2||at Colorado Springs Switchbacks|||||||
|June 10||at Phoenix Rising|||||||
|June 17||vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds|||||||
|June 24||vs Phoenix Rising|||||||
|June 28||vs RGV Toros|||||||
|July 8||at Tampa Bay Rowdies|||||||
|July 15||at Monterey Bay Union F.C. of Seaside|||||||
|July 22||at El Paso Locomotiv|||||||
|July 26||vs Las Vegas Lights|||||||
|July 29||vs Detroit City|||||||
|August 4||at Charleston Battery|||||||
|August 19||vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks|||||||
|August 23||at New Mexico United|||||||
|August 26||at Louisville City|||||||
|September 2||vs Sacramento|||||||
|September 9||at Las Vegas Lights|||||||
|September 16||vs FC Tulsa|||||||
|September 23||vs Monterey Bay Union F.C. of Seaside|||||||
|September 30||vs San Antonio FC|||||||
|October 4||at Orb County|||||||
|October 7||at Loyal|||||||
|October 14||vs El Paso Locomotiv|||||||
Of all the weeks for me to have three matches to talk about on my Preview post.
On the first goal, Rito and Tamacas lose track of Antoine Hoppenot, who manages to break all the way through to the box and his pass gets redirected by Barbir, unfortunately right into the path of Prince Saydee. Four minutes later Jeciel Cedeno doubled the lead by jamming the ball through Morad at the edge of the box and then completely wrong-footing Blanchette. Formella converted a penalty right at the 73-minute mark, but it was not enough.
Again I’m going to direct you to not watch highlights. I need to learn how to edit video so I can put together a highlight reel of Blanchette saves, because this one had some just unreal ones. Unfortunately he couldn’t do anything about the penalty or mad curving shot from Panos Armenakas in the second half. Blanchette kept this from being 5-0.
Roots lost 1-0 to Sacramento mid-week in a game that was not televised and no one can force me to believe actually happened. US Open Cup was canceled for the second year in a row.
Players to Watch
Claudio Repetto #7 – Repetto lead the line for Miami the last three matches, despite Miami employing one-time star Kyle Murphy. Murphy may just be hurt, as he has not featured since April 1. Repetto is 6’3″ and looks the part of a central striker, but has struggled to score much at the USL level, and his only goal so far this season was a penalty. Unusually, Repetto was a mid-season transfer from Charleston Battery to Phoenix Rising in 2021, and then again a mid-season transfer from Phoenix to Miami in September 2022.
Joaquin Rivas #11 – Rivas is in his 9th season in the USL Championship, having played for Sacramento, Tulsa, and St. Louis before landing in Miami mid-way through the 2022 season. Rivas has 28 caps for the El Salvador National team, including (I think) 15 where Tamacas also earned a cap. Rivas is left footed, and plays in a left-sided attacking role. He has pretty consistently scored a handful of goals per season, the highlight coming in 2018 when he scored ten from open play plus two successful penalties.
Paco Craig #4 – This is the first I’ve heard this guy’s name (Paco Gigi Craig), but he immediately goes on the all-USL Championship name list. Jon has requested I formalize that list, but I’d say it’s still in blue-sky development (or purple sky development (the purple represents teamwork)). Craig played in the West Ham youth team but opted for college over non-league football after his release, and somehow ended up at Young Harris College (alma mater of Nick Markakis, Oliver Hardy, Tricia Yearwood, and the founder of Waffle House). Craig is right-footed, captains Miami, plays in the middle of the back three, and somehow leads the team with two goals.
Lineup and Score Predictions
I assume the lineup is the same unless Rito is back from paternity leave, in which case I think Klimenta goes to the bench (although I’m not sure that’s the change I’d make, it is the one I predict).
Lacking Rito certainly hurts the offense, but I don’t think that this team’s offense is gone. Pelaez needs to step up, and I think this is the game where he does. I’m not calling for fireworks, but I’m calling for a reversion to the form from two weeks ago. Roots take it 1-0 and the fans spend most of the game nervous.
My starting 11 is a total guesstimation of who I think can or can’t play on short rest. Starting up top, I’m going Johnny Rodriguez returning from injury. We’ll know more about Rodriguez’s availability when the injury report comes out this morning. To the left, I have Trayvone Reid getting his first USL Championship start due to Darek Formella playing full games against Sacramento, Loudoun and Hartford. Maybe Formella has the conditioning to start, I’d certainly be impressed if he does. The same could be said with Irakoze Donasiyano, who also played full games in each of the last three. I have Donasiyano listed mostly out of necessity; he’s the only creative-minded midfielder between Napo, Nane, and Ethan Kohler–who I could see start in-place of Koze. I also have Edgardo Rito playing on short rest. He missed Loudoun due to the birth of his child and I think he’s fresh enough to play.
My score prediction, I agree with Peter above in a grueling 1-0 victory for Oakland.
Personally I would consider a full-on formation change for this one, but I don’t see it happening. Frankly, Oakland doesn’t have the roster flexibility to make it work unless Delgado is going to play the kids, which I think he should do, but he hasn’t shown much willingness to do. This is as radical as I think we might get here: Formella in the middle, not as a traditional center forward, but something resembling a false 9. If Rito isn’t back for this match (and I’ve been spending too much time thinking about why the Warriors can’t stop Malik Monk from getting downhill to see if Jon has said anything ahout that), and you put Tamacas in that RWB role, this lineup will already play like a lopsided 4-3-3, so you might as well lean into it. Genuinely, though, I would go 4-4-2 and put Pelaez and Johnny on the field at the same time and see what happens, but again, I don’t see it happening. Anyway, 2-1 Roots. Miami isn’t good, and the cross-country trip is usually pretty tough, Hartford match notwithstanding.