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Armada's valiant effort spoiled by Maicon Santos' late goal

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Armada had another valiant effort on the road spoiled in the final moments after conceding a Maicon Santos goal in the 88th minute and fell 1-0 to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium.

Despite a stellar showing from goalkeeper Sean Lewis, who finished with nine saves, the Strikers broke through off a corner to Santos, who smashed it into the back of the net with his left foot amid a bundle of traffic in front of the goal. It was Santos’ fifth all-time goal against Jacksonville, the most of any opposing player.

Jacksonville (1-1-4, 4 pts. NASL Fall, 2-5-9, 11 pts. NASL Combined) was not without its chances, recording nine shots and holding a 53-47 percent possession advantage on the night. The Armada also won aerial duels (58-42 percent) and duels (55-46).

Forward Danny Barrow, who subbed on for an injured Jason Plumhoff at halftime, had a solid opportunity around the penalty area in the 73rd minute when Patrick Otte slipped him a pass to give him a clear look at the goal, but a diving stop by Fort Lauderdale ’keeper Bruno thwarted the attempt.

Barrow kept the pressure on in the 77th when he moved the ball ahead to forward Charles Eloundou, who took a shot from distance, but the attempt was stopped in the nick of time by Bruno. 

The Strikers found more opportunities in the first half, putting all five of their shots on target, but Lewis kept the scoreboard clean.

Santos had his side’s first chance in the 10th minute when he broke away and had a look from inside the box. But his attempt did not have much on it and Lewis was able to make an easy stop.

Just a minute later, Lucas Scaglia took a solid cross from Plumhoff from inside the box and headed it toward the goal, but Bruno was in the right position to make the stop. Strikers midfielder Ramon Nuñez answered moments later with a curling free kick from 30 yards out, but Lewis was in position again to stop it.

Eloundou had the Armada’s best chance of the first half when he intercepted a pass at midfield and dribbled it past Fort Lauderdale defenders to get a clear look from inside the box, but his attempt slid wide left of the goal.

Santos put a scare into the Armada in the 40th when he took a cross inside the box from Gabriel and headed it toward the goal, but Lewis came down with the save.

Jacksonville will return to action at 7:30 p.m. ET next Wednesday with another road tilt at Indy Eleven.