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Minnesota United blanks Armada, 4-0

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BLAINE, Minn. – Without two of their best players for the majority of the game and playing with 10 men for the entire second half, the Jacksonville Armada FC was unable to battle back from insurmountable odds and dropped a 4-0 contest to Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at NSC Stadium in front of a United FC record crowd of 9,412.

Minnesota (1-1-1 NASL Fall, 4-6-3 NASL Combined) did not squander its numbers advantage, scoring three of its four goals in the second half and never let up on pressure.

After an even back-and-forth affair in the first 10 minutes, United FC midfielder Juliano Vicentini corralled the ball near the Armada's first third and fired the ball over Armada goalkeeper David Sierra's head and into the net to put Minnesota on top 1-0 in the 13th minute.

Jacksonville (0-0-3, 3-3-7) endured its first road bump in the 35th minute when midfielder Marcos Flores, who is a key orchestrator in the team's attack, went down with a leg injury and was subbed out for forward Tommy Krizanovic. The odds got tougher for the Armada in the 45th minute when Alhassane Keita was shown a red card after his foot went high and collided with the head of Minnesota goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock.

The Loons upped their lead to 2-0 in the 50th minute when midfielder Daniel Mendes lobbed a shot over the head of Sierra with the assist coming from Christian Ramirez. Ramirez added to his laurels in the 60th minute when he fired a shot past Sierra from 25-yards out and into the back of the net to give Minnesota a 3-0 lead. Minnesota midfielder Ibson capped off United FC's scoring in the 75th minute when he blasted a J.C. Banks cross into the back of the net on a run out.

The Armada's best two scoring chances came from Johnson, who broke away in the 54th minute and juked a defender on the left corner inside the box and slid a diagonal shot that missed the inside bottom right post by inches. In the 70th minute, he sent a rocket from 23 yards out, but Ndjock was able to make the save.

Sierra finished the match with a season-high six saves in face of 26 Minnesota attacks, compared to Jacksonville's 19.

The Armada will return to action at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday for their Fall Season home opener against Spring Season champions New York Cosmos at Community First Park.