Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: Armada FC Falls to North Carolina FC in First Loss of Season

Photo by Rob Kinnan/NCFC

CARY, N.C. – The Jacksonville Armada FC’s 14-game undefeated streak, dating back to 2016, ended tonight in North Carolina. North Carolina FC took all three points in a 3-1 victory at WakeMed Soccer Park.

“The boys worked hard,” said head coach Mark Lowry. “They implemented the tactics just fine. We just lacked a little bit of quality in (North Carolina’s box) and that’s the difference at the end of the day.”

The teams were similar when looking at possession and attack. The Armada FC held 49 percent of possession and fired 16 shots, three more than North Carolina, but fell short when it came to delivering.

“That’s the frustrating part,” said Lowry. “We’re probably 90 percent of the way there, but that last 10 percent is missing.”

Midfielder Jack Blake opened the scoring with his first goal of the season in the 12th minute. Derek Gebhard sent a header toward the goal that hit the crossbar, then toward Zach Steinberger. Steinberger was subsequently fouled by North Carolina’s Christian Ibeagha and Blake took the penalty kick that was easily converted.

North Carolina answered with its first goal in the 27th minute. Lance Laing sent the ball to James Marcelin who fired a shot by four Armada FC defenders and it slid past Caleb Patterson-Sewell into the center of the net.

Jack Blake had another opportunity during a free kick, but Sylvestre made a great save to knock the ball away from the top left corner.

The next goal for North Carolina came from what looked to be a cross but turned into a goal by Lance Laing in the 41st minute. The ball went right over Patterson-Sewell to give North Carolina the lead.

The Armada FC was down by one going into the second half and fought to get ahead sending crosses, 26 total, down the field to try to create opportunity.

“You take a little risk here and there,” said Lowry. “Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. Tonight it didn’t pay off . We just have to do a better job in the opponent’s 18. That’s the bottom line for us. If we do that, then we score goals. If we don’t do that, then it just becomes a struggle.”

Another penalty kick was converted in the 69th minute, but this time by North Carolina FC. Laing was fouled by Drew Beckie and then shot the ball straight to the back of the net for a brace.

The Armada FC holds on to 10 points and slips to third place in the NASL standings. The team continues a stretch of road games beginning Wednesday with a Second Round U.S. Open Cup match against Miami United FC in Hialeah, Fla.

Then Jacksonville will travel to the West Coast for the second NASL meeting of the year with the San Francisco Deltas on Friday, May 19.

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