For the first time in its young history, Miami FC can be called a champion.
Three goals in the first 15 minutes propelled Miami to a 7-0 rout of the San Francisco Deltas on Saturday night at FIU’s Riccardo Silva Stadium. The victory, before a crowd of 5,515, assured the second-year club the NASL Spring Season championship.
“It feels good to finally close this match,” Miami coach Alessandro Nesta said. “It was a beautiful performance.”
Stefano Pinho scored four goals and Dylan Mares added two goals as Miami (10-3-2, 33 points) overwhelmed the second-place and expansion Deltas, who trailed Miami by four points entering Saturday’s match with two games remaining.
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Immediately after receiving their first championship trophy, Miami players headed toward the east end zone, where they celebrated with the team’s rabid supporters nicknamed the “Dade Brigade.”
“This is history for Miami; it is great for the city,” Pinho said. “There are no words to describe this feeling. We worked so hard to earn the distinction of champion.”
The seven goals set a team single-game record, surpassing the four scored against Jacksonville on June 17 and against Minnesota during last fall’s season.
Before Saturday, San Francisco (7-5-3, 26 points) had allowed 10 goals for the entire spring season.
Miami struck quickly on Mares’ goal five minutes into the match. Pinho’s pass found an open Vincenzo Rennella on the right wing. Rennella centered a pass to Mares, who tapped in a shot from 10 yards.
Not content to protect the early lead, Miami continued to pressure the Deltas and took a 2-0 advantage on Pinho’s goal in the 10th minute. Pinho received Mares’ pass and beat San Francisco goalkeeper Romuald Peiser with a 15-yard shot that landed inside the left post.
Pinho victimized the Deltas again five minutes later. Blake Smith’s cross found Pinho near the 6-yard box, where he converted on a shot that landed inside the right post.
“We came out with tremendous confidence,” Pinho said. “The moment we scored the first one we wanted to keep them retreating.”
Tempers flared late in the first half after an aggressive foul called on San Francisco defender Reiner Ferreira resulted in a brief skirmish between the teams. The fallout ended with Ferreira’s direct red card ejection in the 35th minute and yellow card cautions to Peiser and Mares.
Mares scored his second goal in the 43rd minute when he retrieved a loose ball and converted on a shot from 12 yards.
Ariel Martinez replaced Rennella to start the second half and contributed immediately with his goal in the 53rd minute that made it 5-0. Martinez’s blast from the edge of the half circle landed inside the right post for Miami’s fifth goal.
Pinho added his third and fourth goals in the 74th minute and second-half stoppage time, respectively.
“It means so much to me because my family was here to enjoy it,” Pinho said of his four-goal performance.
Miami will look to extend its season of accomplishments on Wednesday night. After consecutive tournament victories over MLS clubs Orlando City and Atlanta, Miami will face FC Cincinnati of the United Soccer League in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal at Riccardo Silva Stadium. The match starts at 7:30 p.m.