By Louis Llerandi/Jacksonville Armada FC U-23
The Jacksonville Armada FC U-23 hosted Southern States SC for their first home match of the season. This marked the second game in the Gulf Coast Conference for the Armada, and the first of the season for Southern States.
As soon as the game kicked off both teams were determined to put their mark on the game and retain possession.
Early in the match, Southern States’ attack pressed the Armada’s backline and forced Cameron Braswell to make multiple acrobatic saves.
Throughout the first half the Armada pressed the opposition’s backline and caused Southern States to make several mistakes, however, Jacksonville was not able to take advantage of the chances they had created.
In the 43rd minute of the match Alex Ierides caught the Stars keeper off of his line and capitalized with a beautiful chip over his head, scoring his second goal of the season.
As the sun began to set on the St. Johns River, the Jacksonville Armada U-23 went into halftime 1-0 up against the Southern States SC Stars.
Right off the bat in the second half of the game, Jacksonville continued to push to increase the lead they had built in the first 45 minutes over Southern States.
Three minutes after the half began, Ierides would soar above the Stars center backs to head the ball only for the shot to ring off the crossbar.
Both teams made multiple second-half substitutions to get fresh legs onto the pitch to keep up with the competitive play of the game.
One of those substitutes, Eduardo Coimbra, would find himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper after Keegan Ancelin played the ball across the top of the area. Coimbra received the ball and blasted a shot past the goalkeeper in the 79th minute to give the Jacksonville Armada a much-needed insurance goal.
The Armada would battle and defend their lead up until the final whistle, with the score being 2-0 in favor of the Armada.
“An important win for the group against a very well-organized and coached group to get back into the rhythm of last season’s performance,” said Armada head coach Tommy Krizanovic. “Players executed their roles and responsibilities defensively tonight and we are overall happy with the performance. With players still missing for the summer, the younger players stepped up and are now in direct competition for a starting spot within the group. Finding results over the weekend comes from a competitive training environment during the week and that’s exactly what these gentlemen are doing day in and day out. Proud of the battle they have shown today. We are still working on key elements of the attacking style of play but understand it will take a little bit of time as it did last year. Thank you to the supporters and fans that came out tonight and we look forward to our next match against the Florida Roots.”
The Jacksonville Armada will travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to once again face Southern States SC for their final game of the NPSL season on Saturday, July 9. Jacksonville’s next match will be played this Wednesday, May 11, in Panama City against in-state rival Florida Roots.
The Armada U-23’s second home match of the season will take place Saturday, May 21 at Jangro Stadium when they face off against Pensacola FC.
Photo Credit: Corbin Lowe/Jacksonville Armada FC U-23