Heading into the weekend, Jacksonville Armada U-23 head coach Pat Cannon said his team’s lone mission was to get six points on the road in three days, something not easily done.
Armada U-23 (3-1-0 NSPL Sunshine Conference) unleashed a fierce attack on Weston FC (0-2-0 NPSL Sunshine Conference) on Sunday night and dominated in a 5-0 decision at Broward College for its third-straight win. Jacksonville picked up where it left off after its Friday night 3-2 victory over Storm FC.
Four different players found the back of the net, led by University of North Florida alum and German striker Helge Pietschmann’s two-goal effort.
It was the third multiple goal effort this season by an Armada U-23 player; Leo De Smedt scored twice on Friday night and Allan Morgan netted two goals in Jacksonville 4-2 win over Kraze United on May 21.
“Hopefully when we look back at the end of the season, we’ll look at this road trip and see this is where everything started to come together,” Cannon said. “Today’s game was a continuation of our previous two second-half performances, and we finally put it into a full game today. We are pleased with the way we finished from start to finish. On top of that, it was big for us to get a shutout.”
Both of Pietschmann’s two strikes came in the first half along with defender and fellow UNF teammate Jay Bolt, who also scored. The 3-0 halftime advantage put Armada U-23 comfortably in control of the contest, but that didn’t mean Jacksonville let its foot off the gas.
Both Victor Rojas and JJ Donnelly joined in on the effort with goals of their own in the second half.
“It’s been great that we’ve had multiple people contributing on the scoreline,” Cannon said. “It’s good to know as a coach that if someone is having an off night, you’ve got other players that can pick up the slack. It was great to see Helge get two goals tonight and get him off to a start. On top of that, it was great to see other guys get some quality minutes off the bench in the second half. It was a complete team effort tonight.”
Perhaps just as impressive as the bevy of goals was the performance of the backline combination of Bolt, Diogo Quirino, Ciaran McKenna and Juan Arguedas. Their effort held Weston FC in check all night and helped goalkeeper Juanes Fajardo notch the clean sheet.
“I felt like our shape in the back tonight was just tremendous,” Cannon said. “That’s something we had not been good at coming into tonight, so fixing that was huge. Getting a five-goal performance is great, but I think it’s going to be more important for us in the long run to have that shape in the back.”
The win moved Jacksonville to first-place alone atop of the NPSL Sunshine Conference standings with nine points.
Armada U-23 will return home to Patton Park at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 5 to take on Fort Lauderdale Strikers U-23. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $5 per person or $10 per car.
“A six-point road trip is massive,” Cannon said. “It will give us a lot of confidence going into our game at home next weekend against Fort Lauderdale Strikers U-23 and hopefully we’ll continue the way we’ve been playing.”