Jacksonville Armada U-23 made it two-in-a-row on Friday night with another come-from-behind 3-2 win over Storm FC at Pembroke Pines Charter High School.
Armada U-23 (2-1-0, 1st NPSL Sunshine Conference) slid to the top of the table after scoring its first-ever road win and rallying in the second half for the second-straight week after four second-half goals helped Jacksonville to a 4-2 win over Kraze United last Saturday.
Led by French forward Leo De Smedt, who accounted for all three goals with two strikes and an assist on Dennis Zapata’s game-winner, Armada U-23 overcame a 2-1 halftime deficit.
“I’m pleased with the character the boys showed tonight,” said head coach Pat Cannon. “To go down 2-1 on the road and come back and battle it out at the end was great. It tells me that there is a lot to keep moving forward with as the season progresses.”
De Smedt got Armada U-23 on the board first when he netted a strike in the 24th minute. Storm FC (0-2-0) answered with the equalizer in the 30th minute when Facundo Cascio found the back of the net. Just before the break, Storm FC’s Adria Gallego netted the score to give his squad a 2-1 lead.
De Smedt led Armada U-23 right back into it when he struck again the 50th. Then in the 77th minute, De Smedt found a streaking Zapata in stride on a long ball, and Zapata blasted it home for the go-ahead score.
“I thought that starting with the second half of last week’s game was the Leo we wanted to see,” Cannon said. “He got two assists in that game, and tonight he scored two fantastic goals. The assist he gave to Dennis was a 30-yard ball over the top right into Dennis’ stride. Leo is doing things that players at this level will get recognized for as he pushes to make it to the next level.”
Although it was a thrilling result for Armada U-23, the team won’t have much time to celebrate. It will return to action at 7 p.m. on Sunday against Weston FC at Broward High School in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
“First thing I told the boys when we got here was we came to get six points, not three,” Cannon said. “Our focus as soon as the whistle blew tonight was recovery for the guys who played a lot of minutes. With our league schedule only being ten games, we are looking to get as many points as we can.”