Soccer

Miami FC beats another in-state foe, extends lead in NASL standings

Miami teammates Vincenzo Rennella, left, and Hunter Freeman, right, congratulate Ariel Martinez for a goal during the team’s game against the Jacksonville Armada at Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami on June 17, 2017.
Miami teammates Vincenzo Rennella, left, and Hunter Freeman, right, congratulate Ariel Martinez for a goal during the team’s game against the Jacksonville Armada at Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami on June 17, 2017. COURTESY THE MIAMI FC

Miami FC faced off against Jacksonville Armada FC on Saturday night at Riccardo Silva Stadium and beat its in-state rivals 4-0 to extend its first-place lead to a comfortable seven points in the NASL standings.

Stéfano Pinho, Vincenzo Rennella and Ariel Martínez were the goalscorers.

“We played a great match [Saturday], and my players continue to impress me,” Miami FC coach Alessandro Nesta said. “Every match you can fix something; we have to continue to get better because we still haven’t won anything.”

This was Miami’s second win over Jacksonville in the past two weeks. Miami is now unbeaten in its past 12 matches.

Miami started the match with full control of the ball, as Jacksonville didn’t hold possession of it until the 2:20 mark of the match.

Miami would keep up the offensive pressure and score the match’s first goal in the 15th minute. Kwadwo Poku fired a low shot past Jacksonville goalkeeper Kyle Nasta that hit off the left post. The ball then bounced off the goalkeeper’s back and into the path of Pinho, who smashed it into the back of the net to put Miami up 1-0.

Just 12 minutes later, Miami doubled its lead. Richie Ryan found Dylan Mares on the left wing with a diagonal long pass. Mares then pushed forward and threaded a through ball in the box to Rennella, who blasted his shot from a tight angle over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net to put Miami up 2-0.

Substitute Martínez came into the match in the 68th minute and started quickly, getting through on goal in the 70th minute but chipping just off target.

In the 78th minute, Martínez freed up Rennella with a through ball, which Rennella clung onto, dribbled past the goalkeeper with a ball roll and buried it home for his second goal of the night.

Martínez would come close to tallying his first goal of the season with a beautiful cutback and shot that was cleared off the line in the 80th minute.

Five minutes later, Martínez would get his goal, unleashing a right-footed shot past the outstretched goalkeeper to give Miami three points and a 4-0 win.

Miami FC remains at home for its next two matches. First, it squares off against the New York Cosmos next Saturday. After that, it plays in the Round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup against Atlanta United FC of MLS on Wednesday, June 28.

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