By Ian Bolger/Florida Roots FC
The Florida Roots Futbol Club (0-1-1) couldn’t hold on against a strong Jacksonville Armada FC U-23 team (2-0-0) and suffered their first loss of the season, 3-0, on Wednesday evening at Tommy Oliver Stadium.
The Florida Roots were tied with Jacksonville Armada in a tough first half performance but fell apart defensively and gave up three goals in the second half. This is the second game for the Roots where they’ve allowed two goals within a three-minute span, with Jacksonville scoring back-to-back goals in the 50th and 52nd minute.
The Roots had many opportunities to score in this game, as they had back-to-back crossbar shots in the first half and Jacksonville Armada had a miraculous save from their keeper in the second half.
“I think it was a tale of two halves,” said head coach Larry Cecchini about his team’s performance. “I was very pleased with our defensive organization, overall energy, and team play in the first half. In the second half, we came out fast and had a couple of decent opportunities to actually score first, but once the Armada got that first goal, we seemed to lose some confidence and played much more cautiously, allowing them to dictate the pace of the game the rest of the way.”
The match started with back and forth plays between both teams with no one getting a real shot on goal until six minutes in the game. The Roots had a strong attack put together but weren’t able to finish.
Jacksonville Armada FC had a couple good looks on goal early as well in the 19th and 24th minutes of the match, as both shots were blocked by goalkeeper Joshua Burton. The Roots also had an opportunity in the 25th minute to score off a free kick near the penalty box, but midfielder Agustin Vivas de Lorenzi put the ball right in the gloves of Jacksonville’s keeper to keep the match scoreless.
The second half of the match was not so great for the Roots, as attacker Ricardo Smith just missed the back of the net within the first minute of the second half. Just four minutes later, Jacksonville scored two of their three goals in this game.
Jacksonville’s third goal came in the 63rd minute of the game when an attacker slipped through the Roots defense and was able to convert on the play. The Roots had multiple quick attacks late in the game but were never able to execute on their opportunities.
“We knew this Jacksonville team was going to be one of the best, if not the best team in our conference, and they have set a high bar for us to aspire to,” Cecchini stated about tonight’s game. “Overall, I am encouraged by our team’s effort tonight, we’ll take away lots of things we need to get better at and look forward to playing them again.”
The Florida Roots will look to rebound from their first loss of the season and play in their first road game in their team’s history next Saturday on May 22nd at 7:00 pm when they face AFC Mobile at Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex in Mobile, Alabama.
Photo Credit: Paul Kearns