Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: Armada, Cosmos, Ready To Show Off New Homes This Weekend

The North American Soccer League (NASL) season opened last weekend with a slate of highly-competitive games that all ended in stalemates. Spring Season action picks back up this weekend with three home openers in Indianapolis, New York, and Jacksonville.

Indy Eleven will play its first home game since beating FC Edmonton in front of a sellout crowd in The Championship Semifinals last November, welcoming Puerto Rico FC to Carroll Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The night game will take place in Brooklyn, where the New York Cosmos will take the field at their new home, Coney Island’s MCU Park, against Miami FC.

Also debuting at a new stadium will be Jacksonville Armada FC, which will play host to the Eddies at Hodges Stadium on Sunday. The game will mark the 2017 season debuts for both sides.

Previews for all three matchups can be found below:

Indy Eleven vs. Puerto Rico FC
3 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 1
Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.

For Indy Eleven, youth was served in the opening game of the season. Forward Tanner Thompson scored on his professional debut to earn the Boys in Blue a point on the road, preventing a win for the San Francisco Deltas in their first game in club history. Indy now heads back to Carroll Stadium, where the club was unbeaten last year. Ben Speas, who signed with Indy in the offseason, helped provide the attacking spark, finishing tied for the most chances created in the league with four.

Puerto Rico FC battled to a draw with the defending champion New York Cosmos at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium last Saturday. Now, the club faces last year’s runner-up after showing that it’s ready to make some noise in 2017. PRFC made several key signings over the course of the offseason, and keeping the Cosmos without a shot on goal in the season opener was certainly a good way to start. Hector Ramos is constantly a force in the final third, also creating four chances in the opener, to lead the club’s attack.

New York Cosmos vs. Miami FC
7 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 1
MCU Park | Brooklyn, N.Y.

The New York Cosmos were unable to hit top gear in their opening game, but took a point back to the Big Apple following their scoreless draw with Puerto Rico. The Cosmos have been incredibly tough to beat at home and haven’t lost a league contest in New York since Sept. 22, 2015. The club will need to get its attack firing after being unable to hit the target – not even once – a weekend ago. Saturday’s matchup in Brooklyn could be a key tilt, as Miami FC is looking like a side that could challenge the defending champions in 2017.

Last Saturday, a defensive miscue for Miami led to a fourth-minute goal for North Carolina FC, but the club equalized just 10 minutes through Kwadwo Poku in the eventual 1-1 draw. Despite not adding more goals, the attacking trio of Jaime Chavez, Stefano Pinho, and Poku is going to be a handful for Cosmos defenders if Miami’s opening game was any indication.

Jacksonville Armada FC vs. FC Edmonton
4 p.m. ET | Sunday, April 2
Hodges Stadium | Jacksonville, Fla.

Jacksonville Armada FC and FC Edmonton head into their first game of the season looking to hit the ground running after watching the rest of the league open with draws in Week 1.

The Eddies head to Jacksonville after a preseason trip to Manchester, where they faced strong sides from Burnley FC, Newcastle United, Wigan Athletic, and Stoke City. Much like last year, head coach Colin Miller is hoping the time spent abroad as a group will foster strong team chemistry and success on the field.

Jacksonville enters its first game aiming to pick up where it left off late last year when the side started to string together positive results. Coach Mark Lowry has an exciting, possession-based attack and young talent focused on taking another step in their development, like English pair Jack Blake and Danny Barrow and Charles Eloundou. The club will also want to put in a good performance in its new home, Hodges Stadium, which is located on the University of North Florida campus.

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