By Louis Llerandi/Jacksonville Armada FC U-23
Jacksonville Armada FC U-23 made the short drive across I-10 to Gene Cox Stadium Saturday to battle against in-state rivals Tallahassee SC. This was the first match of the 2022 NPSL season for both teams, and the third between the two teams.
From the first whistle both teams came out of the gate with aggression and ready to attack.
In the 14th minute, Tallahassee played a ball over the top of the Armada’s back line to take a 1-0 lead.
Early in the match the Armada pressed the opposition’s backline and caused Tallahassee to make several mistakes, however, Jacksonville was not able to take advantage of them.
In the 20th minute the Jacksonville Armada were awarded a free kick outside of the box, but the subsequent shot from Eduardo Coimbra flew just over the crossbar.
The rest of the first half the Armada dominated possession but were unable to capitalize on it. Jacksonville went into the break down a single goal.
Coming out of the blocks for the second half of the game, Jacksonville continued to try and threaten the lead the Battle Lions had in the first 45 minutes.
In the 56th minute Eduardo Coimbra blasted the ball past the Tallahassee goalkeeper for the first goal of the 2022 season with a beautiful solo effort.
The lead would not last long. Ten minutes after the Armada scored the equalizer, Tallahassee SC would add a second goal, putting them ahead 2-1.
Both teams made plenty of second-half substitutions to get fresh legs onto the pitch to keep up with the aggressive pace of the game.
In the 77th minute, Alex Ierides dribbled into the opposition’s box and drew a penalty. The forward would convert the chance from the spot to bring the Jacksonville Armada level once again.
Jacksonville continued to retain most of the possession, battling for the winning goal. In the dying embers of the match, the Armada would get their final chance at goal with a header from Logan Bellone.
The final whistle blew not long after the header with the final score being 2-2, giving the Armada U-23 squad a draw against Tallahassee to start the season.
“Although not the result we hoped for, we are taking lots of positives away from tonight’s clash with Tallahassee,” said second-year head coach Tommy Krizanovovic. “We managed to come back twice from being down a goal and created multiple opportunities to also win the game. Tallahassee was well-organized and made it difficult to break them down. We are now looking ahead to our next game and look forward to have more of the core team come in next week.”
Tallahassee SC will once again have an opportunity to try their luck against the Armada when they head east to Duval County on Wednesday, June 15.
This coming Friday the Jacksonville Armada will take on Southern States SC from Hattiesburg, Mississippi at 7:00 pm EST in the first home match of the season.
Photo Credit: Louis Llerandi/Jacksonville Armada FC U-23