Preview: When these teams met earlier in August, expansion franchise Miami FC won its first road match 4-0 and handed a Minnesota pro soccer team its worst loss in more than four years. “As a player you’ve got pride, and we owe them one, for sure,” forward J.C. Banks said. “They embarrassed us at home so we have to have a good performance and get three points out of it.” Minnesota coach Carl Craig hailed Miami FC (4-2-3) as “the best opponent in the league.” That said, Craig believes his club isn’t too far behind. “Last time we laid three goals on the plate for them,” Craig said. “So it’s redemption more than revenge.”
Players to watch: Minnesota attacking midfielder Ben Speas earned North American Soccer League team of the week honors for scoring a goal and being involved in the Loons’ second goal in a 2-0 victory against Tampa Bay. He went on to create two chances against Jacksonville in a scoreless draw. Miami FC midfielder Ariel Martinez also earned a spot on the team for scoring the game-winner in stoppage time against Rayo OKC. Defensively, the Loons (4-4-3) have held their opponents scoreless for 224 minutes.
Road weary: Minnesota has yet to win a fall season match away from home. Two losses and two draws are all the Loons have mustered.
Seeing red: Midfielder Ibson received a two-match suspension after getting a red card Saturday at Jacksonville. A red card triggers an automatic one-match suspension. Craig said the league did not provide an explanation for tacking on an additional match. “I’m a bit cynical, to be honest with you,” he said.
david la vaque