The Cosmos secured a spot in the playoffs with a convincing 5-2 win over Puerto Rico FC. Now, the Originals have a more daunting playoff task in Miami FC.
The Cosmos have been up to the contest when they’ve played a lethal Miami squad this season. The Originals have won split two wins with Miami, including a 2-0 clean sheet away at Ricardo Silva Stadium in Florida.
This by all means does not mean the Cosmos can underestimate the dominance of Miami FC this season. As most fans know, Miami dominated both the Spring and Fall Seasons by placing first in both in obliterating fashion.
Miami has also shown the capabilities to compete with the bigger North American clubs as well. They defeated both Orlando City and an in-form Atlanta United team in the U.S. Open Cup. They were the last NASL club in the competition before losing to FC Cincinnati in the quarterfinals.
What makes this club so dangerous? How have they dominated the NASL while making an impact on clubs in the MLS too? Well, let’s find out. Through scouting Miami FC, we’ll take a look at the club’s formation and the players that contribute to the success of the franchise.
Pinho came from the now MLS side Minnesota United last season after scoring 5 goals in 25 games with the club. He’s now transitioned his finishing abilities and inflicted it on the rest of the NASL.
The 26-year-old has been able to notch 17 goals and 4 assists in just 27 games played in this campaign. He’s gifted with both feet as 9 goals came with his right boot, while 5 came from the left side. New York has to keep Pinho out of the box, as 15 of his 17 tallies have been scored within the 18-yard frame.
The Brazilian is no stranger to creating chances and playing defensively. He’s created 14 chances while winning 12 tackles, intercepting the ball 11 times and also has 15 clearances. Pinho has made the Team of the Week six times, while being named Player of the Week twice. As a result of his play, he’s made himself one of the five nominees Miami has for league MVP.
On the flip side of the coin, Chavez has also been a huge part in contributing to Miami’s attack. Chavez is now in his second year with the club, scoring 15 goals and 11 assists throughout his duration.
Chavez is seen as more of a creator than his teammate Pinho. His 25 chances created this season suggest his creative style of play. The 30-year-old has won 16 tackles while clearing the ball away 14 times this season.
Throw another crucial forward in Vincenzo Rennella into the mix (another MVP finalist), and you have yourself an amazing core of forwards.
What supplements the dangerous attack of Miami is the brilliance of the midfield. The middle of the park seems to surround around Dylan Mares.
Mares is another young piece of the Miami core coming in at 25 years of age. He has 8 goals and 5 assists this season. Mares holds a passing accuracy of around 85 percent. He leads the team with 45 chances created in the campaign, which is good for fourth in the NASL.
His all around play helps defensively, as he’s made 45 tackles and 29 interceptions. The attacking midfielders is known for his dribbling and passing abilities, both of which go unmatched on the club. He’s amassed seven Team of the Week appearances, and is one of the finalists for the NASL Golden Ball.
What solidifies an already competitive Miami squad is the defense and goalkeeping.
Miami contains a prized young defender in Robert Baggio Kcira. He can play in both the midfield and the backline, even though he’s made more of a mark in the defensive zone.
Kcira is a nominee for the NASL Young Player of the Year, and deservedly so. The 23-year-old has won 57 duels while totaling 12 clearances and 26 tackles. His play in the midfield is no laughing matter. He’s scored 2 goals and an assist with 9 chances created, with only 11 games played.
Even though Kcira might not start, he’s definitely somebody for the Cosmos to watch for off of the bench.
Holding Miami together is goalie Daniel Vega. Vega is easily the best keeper in the NASL at the moment, and his nomination as the only goalie candidate for MVP proves so.
His stats for clean sheets (14), GAA (0.86), and Save Percentage (75.49%) are all the best in the NASL. Vega has made 77 saves which is third most in the league, while making the Team of the Week 3 times. Need I say more?
Miami are most likely to be seen in a 4-4-2 formation with Pinho, Chavez or Rennella at the top. This could be the formation they run this weekend, but with the talent they posses, it wouldn’t shock me to see them switch it up on New York.
This formation fits Miami so well, and it’s obviously shown this season. The wall at defense with Rhett Bernstein and Hunter Freeman is backed by Vega. It’s going to be hard for the Cosmos to find the back of the net against a team that concedes only 0.9 times per game.
The four midfield have the freedom to jump forward, or stay back and defend. This supplements to Miami’s play on both sides of the ball. If they were to run a 4-3-1-2 (has been used by Miami this season), three forwards have the ability to feed the three players that are up front. The final midfielder towards the attack would most likely be the creator.
The Cosmos are going to have to find a way to keep the ball away from Miami at any time possible, or else fans will be in for a long night. New York has to come out early and put Miami in a tough scenario, just like they have twice this season.