For the past few weeks Palm Beach United has been preparing to face the Jacksonville Armada FC, studying film, players, systems, and tendencies. They knew that the former NASL side was very talented and organized. Training sessions have been intense as every player has been focuses on the Armada FC game. Obviously playing against a professional organization and players, PBU wanted to come out flying mentally and physically.
Kickoff took place at 7:30 pm in Palm Beach Gardens, FL at the Benjamin School. As predicted the Armada FC was going to play their unconservative style of play of a 1-3-5-2, which would turn to 1-2-6-2 at times. It was very tough to play against as they are very talented on the ball and patient.
As the half went on Armada had possession for most of the half with 87.8% possession as PBU was disciplined staying compact and organized defensively. Yuma and Jerome Mechack both were integral in the buildup for the Armada.
Both teams walked out of the first half with a scoreless sheet. Close calls with a couple of attacks from Jacksonville and an opportunity from Brandon Joseph-Buadi cutting in and hitting a shot towards the left upper 90, but a save by Aleksander Gogić.
The second half was a half of excitement and it all begin with a pass from Callum Carsley. Carsley came down the left hand side and hit a 45-yard pass leading Brandon Joseph-Buadi to a one-on-one on the the left side. Joseph-Buadi was able to beat the defender and dribble to the near post, where he ripped a shot to the right on the keeper scoring to give PBU the lead in the 54th minute. Ten minutes later in the 64th minute, Yuma from the Armada FC hit a one-time shot from 20 yards out, beating Detre Bell and putting the game level again.
With a 60th minute substitution, Sebastian Andreaessen came in for Noah Amissah upfront. What a great substitution it was as Andreaessen scored in the 64th minute off of a dribble from captain Thilo Wilke. As Wilke dribbled into the box, he pushed the ball a bit too far, but to his luck, Andreaessen was there to take over, beating the keeper to bring Palm Beach to 2-1. As they continued the game, PBU were getting more and more confident in themselves, on the ball and defensively, but in the 79th minute an equalizing goal came from number Ciarán Kilduff.
With 10 minutes plus six minutes of stoppage time to go and playing against the Armada there were many doubters out there, but PBU played until the end keeping their discipline and patience. In the 84th minute Mathis Hardy, a second-half substitution, received a ball on pass from the left and with a great first touch cutting off the defender, Hardy created an opportunity to shoot or cross. While Hardy has a remarkable strike on the ball, he decided to cross the ball, on the ground behind the defenders and in front of the the goalkeeper, to Wilke sliding in the finish and bringing PBU up a goal to 3-2.
In the 93rd minute as PBU were putting pressure on the Armada in the attacking half, a ball was being cleared by Markus Smarzoch. It was deflected into the Armada’s box, while Joseph-Buadi was at the right place at the right time and hit a half volley into the upper 90 of the net, bringing PBU two goals ahead of Armada at 4-2. That ended up being the final score as Palm Beach United took away the three points in the victory.
PBU looks forward to playing Miami FC 2 in Miami on Wednesday evening.
Contributor: Peter Fuller/Palm Beach United
Photo Credit: Erik Hort/Palm Beach United