5 things you didn’t know about Orlando City SC’s cup opponents Miami FC

Orlando City SC supporters can look forward to a novel fixture next week as Jason Kreis‘ Lions take on Miami FC for the very first time in the fourth round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Only founded in 2015, Alessandro Nesta’s Miami FC are an unknown quantity to many.

Not to be confused with David Beckham’s Miami Beckham United, Orlando City UK have listed FIVE things you didn’t know about our NASL opposition.

An Italian influence looms large over the club

Despite belonging to the North American Soccer League (NASL), Miami FC boast an eye-catching ownership group and management team.

Made in Milan if you like, Miami FC’s head coach is none other than Italian defensive legend Alessandro Nesta, a World Cup winner, former Montreal Impact defender and veteran of 224 Serie A appearances for AC Milan.

Then there is co-owner Paolo Maldini, an even bigger Rossoneri icon who made an astonishing 647 Serie A appearances for AC Milan, his only domestic club, between 1985 and 2009.

Brought together by Italian businessman Riccardo Silva who founded the club in 2015, the Miami FC president’s primary business is MP & Silva Agency – a global company that buys TV rights and sells them to broadcasters.

They are Miami’s sole professional soccer club… for now!

While Orlando City SC have more than proved that soccer is well and truly alive in Florida, Miami has endured a stop-start love affair with The Beautiful Game.

Currently speaking, Miami FC is The Magic City’s sole professional soccer club although interest in creating a successful soccer team here is nothing new.

First there was Miami Fusion, a failed Major League Soccer franchise founded in 1997 and dissolved only five years later due to weak financial resources.

Then there is of course the franchise most popularly referred to as Miami Beckham United. a Miami-based franchise reserved for David Beckham’s investment group after the English footballing icon exercised an option to create his own team in return for what he gave to MLS.

First announced back in 2014, David Beckham’s attempts to breach MLS have been stuttering at best although there was a breakthrough lately with a $9 million plot of land being approved by Miami-Dade County commissioners.

Their major rivals are Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Despite being an incredibly new soccer franchise that has only competed one complete season (2016) to date, Miami FC have struck up something of a rivalry with Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Geographically the closest NASL franchise to Miami FC with only 30 miles separating each city, the two sides faced each other in Miami FC’s first ever professional game, a 1-1 draw at the Strikers’ Lockhart Stadium home back on April 2nd, 2016.

Playing Strikers twice thereafter, drawing 1-1 again and losing 0-2 at home, Fort Lauderdale Strikers were the side that surprisingly eliminated Orlando City SC from the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

They also compete for the ‘Coastal Cup’ each season

You’ll be familiar with the regional cups in Major League Soccer like the Cascadia Cup and the Rocky Mountain Cup, and NASL have their own versions too.

Indeed, Miami FC compete for the ‘Coastal Cup’ each season, a 2010-established competition that awards the best placed Floridian NASL side each season.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Jacksonville Armada and Miami FC now compete for the Coastal Cup after Tampa Bay Rowdies left for USL in 2017.

It was Orlando City SC‘s great rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies who claimed the 2016 Coastal Cup (14 points) after beating out Armada by a single point.

They have a former Orlando City SC player in their ranks

One man who’ll particularly be relishing this year’s fourth round match-up is Miami FC defender Brad Rusin.

An Orlando City SC player back in 2014, the 30-year-old centre back made 23 league appearances in the Lions’ victorious final season in USL.

A casualty of the Lions’ ascent to Major League Soccer, Rusin will be a player with a point to prove in this 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup clash.

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