Armada FC comes up short against Rowdies in final tune-up

by Mike McCall,
Mar 28, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 28, 2015) – In their final match before the start of the North American Soccer League season, Jacksonville Armada FC fell to their in-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 2-0.


Keith Savage’s first-half tap-in and Brian Shriver’s second-half header provided the goals for the visitors in front of 6,674 fans at EverBank Field. It was the Armada FC's third match in eight days – the busiest stretch on their calendar until July and the loss dropped the club's preseason record to 3-4.


While it wasn’t the brightest performance, the Armada FC did see meaningful minutes from 21 players against a strong opponent.


“It was good football today,” co-head coach Guillermo Hoyos said. “A lot of times in games, the result isn’t always representative of how the players played. It was a difficult game.”


With only one regular starter on the field for the Armada FC at the outset (defender Fabricio Ortiz), the first half belonged to the Rowdies.


Tampa Bay forward Corey Hertzog, playing in a withdrawn role on the left side, was impactful on both ends of the field, and he came close to a goal but missed wide right in the 32nd minute. Fellow forward Maicon Santos had chances as well but sent an open shot wide and a chip high, but Keith Savage broke the deadlock with a finish from close range in the 43rd that Armada FC keeper David Sierra nearly kept out.


For the Armada FC, possession came in spurts. Recent signing Akeil Barrett ripped one wide from just outside the box, and 16-year-old development squad member Chaim Roserie beat two defenders but had his shot saved from close range.


Halftime brought nine changes for the Armada FC a lineup close to the usual first team and that resulted in more possession and limiting Tampa Bay to just one shot in the period. But the Rowdies made that shot count.

In the 58th minute, Robert Hernandez found space on the right and whipped a perfect cross to the far post that Brian Shriver headed in off of keeper Miguel Gallardo.


Forward Jemal Johnson had the home side’s best chance of the second half, a curling shot toward the far post in the 74th minute that forced a diving save from Kamil Contofalsky.


The match also gave the Armada FC an opportunity to move players into different positions part of their strategy for a free-flowing, versatile formation. Midfielder Lucas Rodriguez played left back, left back Lucas Trejo moved in to center back, and usual center back Matt Bahner slid out to right back in a more attacking role something he has done frequently throughout his career. Additionally, forwards Johnson and Alhassane Keita dropped deep while midfielder Jaime Castrillón pushed forward.


The loss ran the club’s record to 1-1 at the Armada FC Four-Team Challenge, where they defeated Jacksonville University 2-0 on Wednesday. With the last tune-up complete, they can focus on Saturday’s NASL opener against FC Edmonton at EverBank Field. The match will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1.844.2.ARMADA or going to