Miami FC crowned NASL Fall season champions

Midfielder Kwadwo Poku (10) closes in on the FC Edmonton goalie. Nicholas Poblete/PantherNow

By Nicholas Poblete/Staff Writer

 

Saturday night the Miami FC were crowned champions of the NASL Fall Season after defeating FC Edmonton 2-1, becoming the first club in NASL history to win both the Fall and Spring season in the same year.

After a scoreless first half at the Riccardo Silva Stadium, Kwadwo Poku put Nesta’s team in the lead during the 52nd minute.

In the 56th minute, FC Edmonton was awarded a penalty kick after captain Michael Lahoud fouled Daryl Fordyce in the box. Fordyce himself slotted in the penalty to tie things up.

Poku got his brace in the 72nd minute to put Miami FC back in the lead. The Ghana native scored his seventh goal of the NASL season.

“You play these teams over and over again, and they know how you want to play,” Poku said. “They are going lose the first time, the second time but maybe not the third time. But as I said, we got it done.”

Miami FC defeated the Canadian side in the final match of the NASL regular season.

“Tomorrow we start to work because we have to be ready for next week,” Head Coach Alessandro Nesta said. “What we did now doesn’t count.”

The Fall season champions will head into the playoffs, not only dominating the overall table but also having a heavy presence at the individual level.

Forward Stefano Pinho (29) looks on as the team endures heavy-rain against FC Edmonton on Nov. 28, 2017. Nicholas Poblete/PantherNow

Four of the ten top goal scorers are Miami FC players. Stéfano Pinho leads the table with 17 goals, followed by Vincenzo Rennella with 11, Jaime Chávez is in fifth place with 10 goals and in ninth place, Dylan Mares with eight goals.

Miami FC players also have a considerable presence in the top-10 table for assists. Chávez tops the table with nine assists, tied for fifth, Rennella, Ariel Martinez and Blake Smith with five assist each. Mares is 10th with his five assists.

Goalie Daniel Vega has been a key player in the club’s success. Playing every single minute of the year. Vega leads the league in clean sheets with 15.

“I enjoy every day here, I enjoy every training, every game,” Vega said. “This year was the most important year of my career.”

The Riccardo Silva Stadium will now host an NASL playoff semi-final on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 5 p.m. Miami FC will find out who they will face after Sunday’s match between Indy Eleven and North Carolina FC.

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