Match Preview | Memorable Inaugural Season Wraps Up at Packed Community First Park on Sunday

Armada Can Play Spoiler Against Strikers
Oct 30, 2015

Armada FC Public Relations | Oct. 30, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A very memorable inaugural season will come to a close for the Jacksonville Armada FC on Sunday when it hosts the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at 4 p.m., and the Armada will have one more chance to get its first win over an in-state rival while also having a chance to be the spoiler in front of a capacity crowd, presented by McDonald's.

Fort Lauderdale has won both previous meetings with Jacksonville, 2-1 on April 11 and 2-0 on Sept. 16, both of which were at Lockhart Stadium. With 38 points in the North American Soccer League Combined Standings, the Strikers are one point behind the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the fourth and final spot in The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament and would need a Rowdies loss and a draw with the Armada or a Rowdies loss or draw and a win over the Armada to qualify.

The Armada is coming off a tough 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton last Sunday in Edmonton. After grabbing a 1-0 lead in the 77th minute on an Eddies own goal that was sparked by a cross by Armada forward Jemal Johnson, FC Edmonton tied it up in the second minute of second half stoppage time when a Sainey Nyassi cross was headed in by Mallan Roberts. Johnson had several near scores throughout the match, and the Armada finished with a 54-46 percent possession advantage.

The Strikers were previously in the driver’s seat for the final playoff spot, but a 2-1 loss to the Indy Eleven last Saturday in Indianapolis handed the advantage to Tampa Bay. Fort Lauderdale fell behind 2-0 in the first half and couldn’t add to Jose Angulo’s 59th minute blast from the top of the box. The two goals conceded by the Strikers ended a two-match shutout streak.

Sunday will be the first regular season meeting between the clubs in Jacksonville. On Feb. 28, a Shawn Nicklaw goal gave the Armada a 1-0 preseason victory over the Strikers in the first soccer game ever played at Community First Park. It was also the night Squid Vicious made his glorious debut.

In the last meeting between the teams on Sept. 16, the Strikers extended their then-six match unbeaten streak with goals from Marlon Freitas in the 17th minute and James Marcelin in the 90th minute. Despite keeping NASL-leading goal scorer Stefano Pinho quiet for the majority of the night, the Armada could only muster one shot on goal to Fort Lauderdale’s seven.

Below is a breakdown of each team and the match.

Sunday, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. ET | Community First Park
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Jacksonville Armada FC (5W-4D-10L, 19 pts., 7th NASL Fall; 8-6-13, 30 pts., 10th NASL Combined)
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (7W-6D-6L, 27 pts., 4th NASL Fall; 10W-8D-11L, 38 pts., 5th NASL Combined)

Fort Lauderdale leads, 2-0-0

Strikers 2, Armada FC 0 - 9/16/15 in Jacksonville | Recap | Video Highlights

Armada FC: News | Roster | Schedule | Season Stats
Strikers: News | Roster | Schedule | Season Stats

- CW17 – Cole Pepper – PXP and Mauricio Ruiz – Color

- Live on Sports Radio 930-AM | Stuart Webber – PXP and Bob Veal – Color
- Also streamed live on iHeart app

- Live Twitter updates on @ArmadaFCgameday – #JAXvFTL
- Live stats on

Even though the Armada is no longer eligible for a spot in The Championship this season, a win would send a packed Community First Park into a frenzy and put an exclamation point on an exciting first year.

The Strikers will be watching Tampa Bay’s regular season finale at the New York Cosmos on Saturday very closely as a loss or draw would make Fort Lauderdale’s match with the Armada the most significant NASL match of the year.

Jacksonville: Forward Jemal Johnson, who was named Farah & Farah Man of the Match in the Armada’s 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton last Sunday, earned his third NASL Team of the Week honor on Wednesday. Johnson’s cross in the 77th minute deflected off FC Edmonton’s Albert Watson and into the goal. If it hadn’t been deflected, it would have been Johnson’s sixth goal in league play this season and a new career high. Johnson leads the team in minutes played (2,245), matches played (27) and starts (26).

Fort Lauderdale: Prolific Brazilian goal-scorer Stefano Pinho, who came to the Strikers on loan from Brazilian powerhouse Fluminese, leads the North American Soccer League with 16 goals scored and looks like a shoe-in to claim the NASL Golden Boot, given to the league’s top goal scorer and is a top candidate for the NASL Golden Ball, the league’s most valuable player award. Pinho has been named NASL Player of the Month once, Player of the Week four times and landed on the Team of the Week seven times. Pinho also leads the team in assists with seven.


  • Of the league’s most recent expansion clubs, Indy Eleven (2014), Ottawa Fury FC (2014), New York Cosmos (2013) and San Antonio Scorpions (2012), none have lost their final regular season games. Indy, Ottawa and San Antonio closed out their first seasons with a draw, while New York won its final regular season contest and went on to win The Championship.
  • Jacksonville will try to avoid going 0-0-3 against Fort Lauderdale on Sunday. The Armada has not lost to any other NASL team three times this season and holds at least a win or a draw against the teams it has lost to twice, which include Minnesota (0-1-2), Carolina (1-0-2), Tampa Bay (1-0-2) and Ottawa (0-1-2).
  • There is no question the Armada feeds off its home crowd, posting an 8-4-2 record at home, good for third-best in the NASL behind New York and Ottawa. The Armada is expecting a capacity crowd on Saturday, which would be more than 8,500 at Community First Park. In regular season home games this season in which there has been a crowd of 7,000 or larger, the Armada has posted a 6-2-1 record.

To thank its fans for all of their tremendous support this season, the Armada is hosting a “festival of fan appreciation” prior to, during and after the match at Community First Park, presented by McDonald’s. There will be a free pre-match party outside of Veteran's Memorial Arena from 1:30-3:30 p.m. with a chance to meet U.S. Women's National Team World Cup-winning midfielder Morgan Brian, presented by Subway, from 2-3 p.m. Brian will also be an honorary Armada captain for the day and participate in the pre-match coin toss. Fans attending the match can also win one of 11 prizes throughout the match. For more information on the festivities, click here.

The Armada will begin its offseason training in January and return to action with a preseason friendly with Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union in February at Community First Park. The exact date and time will be announced on in the coming weeks. Season tickets for 2016, starting at $10 per match, are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 1.844.2.ARMADA or visiting