Miami FC Returns Home, Enters Week 8 As New League Leader

Author:  Neal Malone
NEW YORK (May 12, 2017) - After last weekend's dramatic win in the final minutes, Miami FC enters Week 8 of the North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season ahead of the pack. Miami's dynamic attack has lifted the club into first place, but the leaders have a tough challenge ahead, facing Indy Eleven and its stingy defense on Saturday night. 

miamifc smlElsewhere on Saturday night, the New York Cosmos welcome Puerto Rico FC to MCU Park, while North Carolina FC looks to shake off a recent home loss in its clash with unbeaten Jacksonville Armada FC.

On Sunday afternoon, FC Edmonton will face the San Francisco Deltas, who are flying high after their first road win a weekend ago.

Continue below for a preview of each Week 8 matchup: 


New York Cosmos vs. Puerto Rico FC
7 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 13

MCU Park | Brooklyn, N.Y.

Watch | ESPN3 (National - U.S.)*, (National - Canada), WAPA 2 (National - Puerto Rico), MSG Networks (Regional - NY/NJ/CT/PA), MSG GO (Regional - NY/NJ/CT/PA)

The New York Cosmos were moments away from upending Jacksonville Armada FC last weekend, but the game ended in the 1-1 draw at Hodges Stadium after the visitors conceded in the 95th minute. Now the Cosmos return home to MCU Park, where they are still seeking their first win in 2017, to face Puerto Rico FC. Javi Márquez has turned into the leader of the Cosmos midfield. The former La Liga midfielder curled a wonderfully-taken free kick into the back of the net last weekend - his second goal of the year - and he has brought assured performances and quality to the middle of the field. Center back Dejan Jaković is coming off a strong performance as well and the Canadian international will need to replicate that effort against Puerto Rico forward Pito Ramos. 

Puerto Rico heads into Saturday's contest after a tough loss last weekend. The club fell, 2-1, to Miami FC, conceding twice late in the game. Jaime Chávez's goal in the 94th minute, a header from his knees, proved to be the dagger. Emery Welshman did get off the mark in the contest with the game's opening goal and could prove to be another dynamic forward for the club's attack, which is looking for a consistent secondary goalscorer to Ramos. 

Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven

7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 13

Riccardo Silva Stadium | Miami, Fla.

Watch | ESPN3 (National - U.S.), (National - Canada), CW South Florida (Local - Miami)

Miami FC brings its potent attack into a matchup with Indy Eleven at Riccardo Silva Stadium. The club's persistence paid off last weekend, scoring twice late to mount a comeback against Puerto Rico FC. Dylan Mares has provided the creative spark, with 18 chances created, which is the most in the NASL. The former Indy Eleven midfielder now faces his former side for the first time. Forwards Vincenzo Rennella and Jaime Chávez both scored their first goals of the year, and if they gain more confidence in front of goal, Miami's attack will be even more daunting.

Indy is coming off another draw - its sixth in a row - to start the campaign. Indy may take solace in the fact that the club won the Spring Season title a year ago picking up six draws. On the road, the Boys in Blue have played to three 1-1 draws so far in 2017. While Tim Hankinson's side wasn't able to find the breakthrough against FC Edmonton in its scoreless draw last week, the pressure it put on the Eddies back line will certainly be a positive for Indy entering the matchup this weekend. Indy's defense, led by captain Colin Falvey, will need to remain organized if it's going to slow down the home side on Saturday. 

North Carolina FC vs. Jacksonville Armada FC

7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 13

Sahlen's Stadium | Cary, N.C.

Watch | beIN SPORTS USA (National - U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS CONNECT (National - U.S., Canada), Spectrum SportsChannel (Regional - North/South Carolina), WRAL2 (Local - Cary/Raleigh)

Entering Saturday's contest, North Carolina FC will aim to shake off its 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Deltas last weekend. The club was undone by a pair of set pieces and, overall, will need to find more consistency at the back to get better results. One consistency for the club, though, has been scoring goals. The club has scored the second most in league play (8) and have yet to be shutout heading into Week 8. That attack will now look to test a Jacksonville Armada FC back line that has allowed a mere three goals to begin the year. 

Armada FC has shown incredible character to begin the year to maintain an unbeaten record to this point in the Spring Season. Most recently, Zach Steinberger scored a jaw-dropping equalizer in the 1-1 draw with the New York Cosmos. Jacksonville, though, will hope to turn its recent stretch of draws, now four in a row, back into wins. The club hasn't gotten a win since Week 3 when it nabbed a 1-0 road win over FC Edmonton. 

FC Edmonton vs. San Francisco Deltas

4 p.m. ET | Sunday, May 14

Clarke Stadium | Edmonton, Alberta

Watch | ESPN3 (National - U.S.), (National - Canada), Facebook Live (National - Canada)

It hasn't been an easy start to the campaign for FC Edmonton, but the Eddies can take positives from their scoreless draw with Indy Eleven last weekend. It was the club's first clean sheet of the year after a total of 16 one year ago. Abdoulaye Diakité and Adam Straith were rocks in the back, totaling 27 clearances between the pair in the draw. FC Edmonton will hope that's a sign of more things to come for a side that has a defense-first mentality. Back at home, which has historically been a tough place to play for visiting sides, the Eddies will aim to grab their first win of the season against the San Francisco Deltas.

The Deltas head to Edmonton for the first time oozing with confidence. The club earned its first road victory, a 2-1 result against North Carolina FC, powered by goals from Reiner Ferreira and Jackson. The tallies came thanks to two assists from Cristian Portilla, who was named NASL Player of the Week for his efforts. San Francisco has only conceded twice in its travels so far, bringing an unbeaten road record to Clarke Stadium. Coach Marc Dos Santos will face an old rival, Eddies coach Colin Miller, for the first time after both coaches used to square off in league and Canadian Championship play. 

*In the NY/NJ/CT/PA region, the match can be seen on MSG GO, not ESPN3