Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: Jacksonville Falls 1-0 to the Miami FC

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Armada FC (0W-2D-3L NASL Fall) faced the NASL Spring Season Champion Sunday night at Hodges Stadium. Despite extensive effort, recording 13 shots with four on goal, the Armada FC fell 1-0 to the Miami FC (3W-0D-2L NASL Fall).

Although the team was unable to collect three points, Armada FC head coach Mark Lowry remains positive.

“We dominated. That performance was superb against the best team in the league. It shows how good we are,” said Lowry. “That performance was almost perfect, we just lacked two or three goals. We keep doing that and we’ll start winning games.”

The Sunday night matchup was action-packed from the start. Miami was able to earn a free kick early in the game, but the opportunity missed wide of the goal.

Jacksonville then had an opportunity off a corner as Bryam Rebellón completed a spectacular bicycle kick. Miami’s Mario Daniel Vega came in with the save, stopping the Armada FC from taking an early lead.

Right in front of the Armada FC’s box, Richie Ryan attempted a promising free kick that cleared all the bodies, but the ball hit the right side of the post leaving the score knotted at zero.

In the middle of the first half, Ciarán Kilduff made his first appearance for the Armada FC– just two days after arriving in Jacksonville. Tony Taylor went to the ground with an injury and Kilduff replaced him in the 30th minute.

“Losing Tony really hurt us [because] he was looking good and sharp around the box. I’m pretty sure he would have scored tonight,” said Lowry. “Unfortunately we lost Tony earlier than we wanted to.”

Caleb Patterson-Sewell continued to keep Miami at bay by completing a spectacular save during the 32nd minute. The goalkeeper showed his defensive skills as he stopped a promising Miami attempt by Jaime Chávez, keeping the club from taking the advantage.

The Armada FC showed glimmers of hope as Rebellón dribbled the ball past multiple defenders, cutting the ball to Kilduff, whose shot went just left of the goal. Minutes later, Brian Shriver took a shot on goal only to be stopped by Vega.

Just before halftime, Miami was able to sneak in a goal to take the lead. Chávez took another shot that found its way around Patterson-Sewell and the visitors were able to get on the board during the 41st minute. Jacksonville went into halftime trailing by one.

“They’re a good team and we know that. It’s a matter of knowing when we’re going to press and when we’re going to go. Good teams will find opportunities,” said Patterson-Sewell.

To start off the second half, Patterson-Sewell completed another great save, as he extended his entire frame to deflect a Miami attempt on goal. Mechack Jérôme also showed off his defensive presence, after a Miami FC player was able to break away from the pack. The defender chased down the player to steal the ball and create a chance.

Derek Gebhard brought a much-needed spark off the bench, recording four shots in the second half. His best attempt came in the 87th minute as he tried to equalize the score, but Vega was there with the save.

“If one or two of those would have [found the back of the net], it would have been a different game. But I’d like to see us getting back to clean sheets and defending. I think we defended better than the last few nights, but again, we just need to make sure we close down more. There are positive signs,” said Patterson-Sewell.

Despite the offensive effort by the Armada FC, Jacksonville could not find the net to equalize the score before time ran out. The Miami FC took all three points at Hodges Stadium.

“Today was another good performance. If we do that again, we’ll start winning games,” said Lowry.

Next the Armada FC will hit the road, as they travel to face Indy Eleven. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Indianapolis.

The team will return home on Saturday, Sept. 9 for First Responders Night at Hodges Stadium.

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