Building The Squad
Most teams in the NASL are filled with former MLS players, journeymen from the lower leagues abroad, and a few young college players from around the area, occasionally mixed in with some recognizable names at the tail end of their careers.
Miami FC, on the other hand, are a bit different. When the team came into the league last season, they followed a similar outline for their own squad, signing former Red Bull winger Dane Richards, Honduran international and former Tottenham midfielder Wilson Palacios, and Atlanta Silverbacks goalscorer Jaime Chavez.
The new team then added more experienced veterans as impact players. Brazilian defender Adaílton from the Chicago Fire, Brazilian midfielder Matuzalém from Hellas Verona, and Argentine forward Darío Cvitanich. The team struggled in the Spring Season, cut ties with many of the veteran pieces and instead overhauled the roster in the summer with NASL talents like Irish midfielder Richie Ryan, defender Hunter Freeman, and former Union midfielder Michael Lahoud. Then the team brought in Kwadwo Poku.
Their new look side climbed back up the NASL standings in the Fall Season but fell just short of the NASL postseason The Championship. Miami took advantage of the winter window, bringing in NASL standouts from 2016, Dylan Mares, Michel, and former Golden Boot winner Stefano Pinho. They were able to retain most of their summer additions, and the new squad entered the season with something to prove.
Unsurprisingly, they’ve been a force in NASL play, leading the league in both goals scored and goals conceded, but the way they’ve stood out during their Open Cup run has caught them even more attention. After beating former league-mates the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0, Miami manhandled a strong Orlando City side 3-1, where it took Kaká and Carlos Rivas for Orlando to get a late goal. Miami then matched MLS newcomers Atlanta United’s firepower, with Poku finding the back of the net in injury time to win 3-2.