RECAP: Armada FC Victorious in Rowdies Preseason Match

Banks' Goal in Second Half Leads Armada to 1-0 Victory
Mar 11, 2017


Shane Biery, | March 11, 2017

The Jacksonville Armada FC battled with previous NASL in-state rival, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, on Saturday in a match that ended in a 1-0 Armada FC victory. The winning goal came off the foot of midfielder J.C. Banks in the 48th minute of the match.

“Today was a more complete performance from us,” said Armada FC head coach Mark Lowry. “The guys have gone in and implemented the work we’ve put in this past week.”

Saturday’s match was split into two 45-minute halves.  The first half was a battle of possession as both teams tried to settle into the match, followed by an action-packed second half.

Multiple scoring opportunities were created in the first half. The best chance the Armada FC created came off a corner kick from Jack Blake.  Blake’s pass connected with the head of Kevan George, but did not have the power it needed to find the back of the net. Both teams entered the halftime break without netting a goal.

Banks’ goal came just three minutes into the second half, and was a spectacular shot that sneaked into the upper left corner of the goal.  The play started at half field when Banks made a back-heel pass to Drew Beckie, who passed it right back to Banks. He dribbled his way into the 18-yard box and connected on a pass with Jack Blake who was sitting at the top of the box.  Blake played a through ball between three Tampa Bay defenders, and Banks took a one-touch shot that found its way to the back of the net for the only goal of the game.

Minutes after the Banks goal, the Armada FC created another chance.  Blake played a through ball to Derek Gebhard, who beat a Tampa Bay defender to the ball and managed to get off a one-touch shot that was saved by the Rowdies goalkeeper.

The Armada FC saw great play from its goalkeeper as well. Kyle Nasta made his first appearance since signing with the team this week. He made an immediate impact on the match by making an incredible save just minutes after subbing in.  The Rowdies forward had a shot on goal from two yards out, but Nasta answered the call with a beautiful split-second reaction save, knocking the ball over the bar and out of play.

The victory over the Rowdies makes this the third match in a row the Armada FC has won against Tampa Bay, and the first since the Rowdies joined the USL. The series record now sits at 3-2-2 in favor of the Armada FC.

“I’m super proud of the whole group and the work they’ve put in,” said Lowry. “They had the desire and the determination to see the game through. I know it’s only preseason, but these are good habits to pick up; managing games, seeing games out, making the right decisions during the game.”

The Armada FC will return to action on Saturday at 7 p.m. when it faces Orlando City B at Patton Park.  Orlando City B is a member of the USL, and the match will be the first time the Armada FC has played Orlando City’s B team.