The Jacksonville Armada FC claimed the third-straight win of the week on the road against Boca Raton FC Saturday in the second match of the NPSL season for the Armada FC.
Two first-half goals by Alhassane Keita were the deciding factors in the victory.
Derek Gebhard earned an early free kick outside of the box just one minute into the match and Alhassane Keita stepped up to take it. His shot went right over the Boca Raton wall and into the net to put the Armada FC on the board.
Keita, along with Giovanny Vazquez, Camilo Portilla, and Brian Bement all made their first starts of the year Saturday night. Shane McInerney and Aleksander Gogic both made their debut appearances this season with the club as well in their starts.
“Obviously we changed the team around a lot tonight;” said head coach Mark Lowry. “We wanted to give some other players an opportunity. They have been training very well and deserve the time on the field.”
Boca Raton was quick to close the gap in the 11th minute though. Carlos Meneses received a pass from Gabriel Diniz and was able to fire a shot from a close range past Gogic in goal.
The Armada FC did not take the lead again until the 35th minute. Gebhard won a penalty kick after going down just inside the box. Keita stepped up the line and easily converted the penalty kick to bring the score to 2-1.
Meneses tried to once again equalize in Boca’s best opportunity of the second half. He took a shot from some distance but the ball sailed just over the crossbar.
The second half saw even possession and a few chances from both sides, but the score remained at 2-1 when the final whistle blew.
“Tonight was team effort. The guys gave everything,” said Keita. “It’s giving us confidence for
the game this Wednesday.”
Jacksonville now will prepare for the Second Round of the U.S. Open Cup and will host the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL Wednesday at JU’s Southern Oak Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and tickets are $10 at JacksonvilleArmada.com/Tickets.
“It’s been a very busy week,” said Lowry. “We have another few big days ahead, so it’s important that everyone is focused and contributing. There is a wonderful togetherness at the moment and I’m excited to see what we can produce on Wednesday.”
Contributor: Jacksonville Armada FC
Photo Credit: Eric Turner/Armada FC