The Jacksonville Armada FC picked up its first win against Miami FC 2 since 2016 in a 1-0 fashion Wednesday night at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida. This is the second time the two clubs have met this year, with the first match resulting in a 1-1 draw on April 28.
The Armada FC’s first scoring chance came six minutes in. Camilo Portilla stole a pass from Miami defender Rhett Bernstein when he was trying to clear the ball out of his own box. Portilla was left with no one but the goalkeeper in front of him, and sent a powerful shot toward the goal, but it was blocked by goalkeeper Mario Daniel Vega and cleared out of the box.
Five minutes later in the 11th minute, Portilla was able to create another scoring chance on a two-on-one breakaway with teammate Derek Gebhard. Portilla held the defender’s attention for just enough time to set up Gebhard with a soft touch pass that he put in the back of the net for the first goal of the match.
“I knew Camilo was there the whole time, so I was just trying to get the defender to bite a little bit,” Gebhard said. “He eventually did, and we knew what we wanted to do. It was a great ball from him and I was able to finish it.”
The Armada FC continued to dominate possession and stayed aggressive on the offensive end of the field. In the 14th minute, J.C. Banks crossed the ball into the box from the right side of the field and onto the foot of a cutting Ciarán Kilduff who missed a shot just wide right.
Shortly after, Miami began to get into a groove and created some scoring chances to counter Jacksonville’s aggressive start.
In the 29th minute, Miami midfielder Don Smart put a dangerous ball into the box that bounced around before being secured by Armada FC goalkeeper Brian Holt.
From the second half on, the game was won by Jacksonville’s defense, which forced Miami into tough shots all night.
Armada FC head coach Mark Lowry credited young defenders Shane McInerney and Michael Melvin for bringing energy and keeping from Miami from scoring.
“Shane and Michael are young defenders,” Lowry said. “But the heart that they show gets them through. They had chances to score in the first half, but other than that we really restricted them.”
The Armada FC is undefeated at home and is at the top of the NPSL Sunshine Conference with 10 points. The next match will be on the road Saturday against Palm Beach United.
Contributor: Michael Card/ArmadaFC.com
Photo Credit: Eldy Mendez and Rosie Lindo