RECAP: Armada Ignites Rivalry With 2-1 Win Over Miami FC In Windy South Florida Showdown

Mar 9, 2016

Armada FC Public Relations | March 9, 2016

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Jacksonville Armada FC capped off its three-day training retreat in South Florida Wednesday afternoon by earning its first preseason victory against North American Soccer League competition in a 2-1 defeat of Miami FC at St. Thomas University.

Despite overly windy conditions, the Armada charged into the match, taking possession of the ball and mounting pressure on its opponent. Only two minutes in, Armada midfielder Junior Sandoval sent a soaring strike past Miami FC goalkeeper Daniel Vega to give his side the early lead.

“It feels amazing to be able to get that first goal,” Sandoval said. “I have been looking for that goal for the past three or four games, so to be able to get it today against a great team with a great coaching staff in Miami FC is good for us. I think we dominated the first 45 minutes of the game. The last five or six minutes they started possessing the ball more. We took control of the ball for most of the game.”

He added: “It’s a work in progress. We have to wait until April 10 against the New York Cosmos when things get started. We will be ready.”

Both teams created impressive combinations, keeping both sides of the field action-packed. However, a penalty kick awarded to Miami FC in the 45th minute allowed Pablo Campos to smash home a goal and go into halftime level with the Armada.

Jacksonville changed the majority of the lineup in the beginning of the second half, allowing most of the squad to see action, which also helped display the team’s depth.

The deciding moment came in the 87th minute when a scramble in Miami FC’s 18-yard box ended in a penalty kick being awarded to the Armada. Jemal Johnson step in and notched his first goal of the preseason and earned the Armada their first win over the expansion side.

“I liked it,” said Tony Meola, Armada FC head coach. “We were creating opportunities. We were alert today. The alertness was very impressive. There will be a lot of NASL games that won’t look very different from today. In the end, you have to battle and find a way. You don’t get a call early on, you still have to fight back.”