Regional playoffs are here! On Saturday, July 16, the Silverbacks will play Miami United in the South Region semifinals. Miami United play in the Sunshine Conference of the NPSL. They were founded in 2012 and played their first season in 2013. They play their games at Ted Hendricks Stadium at Milander Park, which is located in Hialeah. Hialeah is a city in Miami-Dade County with a population of 224,669 people as of the 2010 census.
Miami United had their first taste of success in 2014 when they won the Sunshine conference after an undefeated regular season and wins over Storm FC and the Tampa Marauders in the conference playoffs. In the regional playoffs, they were defeated by Chattanooga FC. Despite their loss against Chattanooga, they still qualified for the US Open Cup.
After failing to qualify for the regional playoffs in 2015, Miami United made a few changes which included bringing in former Venezuelan national team manager Ricardo Paez to manage them, as well as signing two big name players in Adriano and Julio Cesar de Leon. The last time Adriano had played was 2014. Their season started off with a terrible 5-0 loss against local rivals Miami Fusion. It seems that was a wakeup call for them because they won nine games in a row afterward.
Their opponents included a few reserves teams of NASL clubs such as Tampa Bay Rowdies 2, Armada u-23, and Ft. Lauderdale Strikers u-23. Along with the NASL reserves teams, there are several other independent clubs in the Sunshine Conference including Storm FC, Kraze United, Weston FC, and the previously mentioned Miami Fusion
Their biggest win was a 5-0 win over Ft. Lauderdale. Their second meeting with the Strikers was a 5-1 victory. Their 4-0 win over Weston was also one of their biggest wins of the season. Their last four matches were only won by one goal, so they don’t seem to be as dominant as those big wins made them appear to be. They only allowed 13 goals this season, so they are very consistent on defense. That being said, so are the Silverbacks who have only given up ten goals. Miami has scored 28 goals this season and the Silverbacks have only scored 17. This isn’t a cause for alarm, however, because even if 17 is considered a “low” number of goals the Silverbacks have proven time and time again that they know how to score important goals that win them games. Apart from the playoff game against the Railhawks they typically don’t score for fun like Miami has done a few times, but that doesn't mean they are inferior in any way.
It’s not going to be easy, but the Silverbacks are capable of winning this game. Apart from Abu Tommy being suspended for a red card, they will have almost everyone at their disposal. Every game seems to have had a different hero, and everyone will be rising to the occasion in this one, but it’s impossible to predict who will have that one big moment whether it be a goal to take the lead or a clearance off the line to keep the lead. You’ll just have to watch the game yourself to see who produces the magic. Many Silverbacks fans will be gathering at Elder Tree Pub in East Atlanta to watch the game together. If you’re not crazy enough to go all the way to Miami like a few of the Ultras and a particular blogger will be doing, then Elder Tree is the place to be. Wherever you are on Saturday when 7 pm rolls around, make sure you’re watching and supporting your Silverbacks in what is bound to be a compelling contest.