By Alex Toledo/Staff Writer
After a relentless onslaught of goals, Miami FC looked unbeatable in their 7-0 win over the San Francisco Deltas on Saturday night, clinching the NASL Spring Season title.
Miami FC scored three goals in the first 15 minutes of the game and hit four of six shot attempts at the halfway point. Their three second-half goals marked the first time the franchise had ever scored that many goals in one game. Before this game, the Deltas, one of the better defenses in the NASL, had given up 10 total goals all season and had not lost on the road. Meanwhile, Miami FC held the Deltas to three shot attempts while the team hit seven of fourteen total shot attempts while holding possession of the ball for over 70 percent of the game.
“We waited a long time for this. We don’t want to stop here. We always want more,” said forward Stefano Pinho.
On Saturday night, Miami FC not only won the title, but also clinched an NASL playoff spot while also remaining in firm hold of first place. The Deltas were the closest to Miami FC in the NASL standings, coming into tonight’s game with 26 points to Miami FC’s 30. Miami FC is now at 33 points with their 10-3-2 record, while the Deltas are now at 7-5-3.
“We’re the league champions and we can now concentrate on the US Open Cup,” said forward Vincenzo Rennella.
As 5,515 fans watched, Miami FC came out early with full artillery, having seven different players touch the ball before midfielder Dylan Mares scored at the end of the fourth minute.
After getting their shot blocked in the eighth minute, Miami FC got back in the ninth minute as forward Stefano Pinho scored off another long possession. Pinho then came back around about five minutes later, scoring once again, this time at the 14 minute mark.
Soon thereafter, forearms and elbows were thrown and players were tripped as a scuffle broke out on the field in the 35th minute, resulting in a red and a yellow card for the Deltas, while Mares picked up a yellow card for Miami. The Deltas finished the match with one red card and three yellow cards while Miami FC remained with the sole yellow card.
Miami FC decided they weren’t finished with first half scoring, as Dylan Mares scored his second goal of the match in the 42nd minute off a possession where the ball was flung around endlessly.
Dylan Mares’ two goals, his fourth and fifth of the season, placed him in seventh most in the NASL. Mares and teammate Kwadwo Poku are also leading the NASL in chances created.
Midfielder Ariel Martinez, nicknamed Cuban Messi, kicked off the second half of the match by nailing a spectacular long-distance goal off a Kwadwo Poku pass.
Stefano Pinho then scored two more goals, one in the 74th minute and the other in the 89th minute, to put a couple cherries on top of one of the biggest wins in the team’s history.
With his four-goal haul, Stefano Pinho had his second ever hat trick and his first in the NASL. Pinho has now scored eight goals in the season, tying with forward Vincenzo Rennella for most in the league. Rennella still leads the league in shots taken as well as assists.
“Whoever ends up with the least goals has to pay for dinner,” said Pinho on tying teammate Enzo Rennella for most goals in the NASL.
Miami FC leads the league in goals scored and shots taken by a wide margin, scoring nine more goals and 15 more shot attempts than the next closest teams.
Miami FC faces FC Cincinnati of the United Soccer League on Wednesday night, July 5, 2017, in the US Open Cup quarterfinals.
“We’re very happy with the results. We scored a lot of goals and we are now putting all our focus on Wednesday night,” said Pinho.
“They’re a very good team so it will be difficult, but we’ve done very well at home and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Rennella.