The Jacksonville Armada FC said goodbye to its winless trips to Indianapolis Saturday night with an offensive explosion and another club record: four goals in a NASL match.
The club took all three points after a final score of 4-1 and a physical battle against Indy Eleven.
“Indy [is] a top team,” said Armada FC head coach Mark Lowry. “Even at 3-1 and 4-1, I couldn’t relax. They have a lot of weapons on the field and credit to those guys, they didn’t stop.”
Jack Blake opened up the scoring for the Armada FC only four minutes into the game. He took the penalty kick after Gebhard was fouled. His initial shot was deflected off of Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch, but Blake was quick to find the rebound and the back of the net.
Indy Eleven was able to equalize six minutes later when Éamon Zayed headed the ball in past Caleb Patterson-Sewell following a corner.
Both sides then struggled to convert an opportunity until the 41st minute when Derek Gebhard ran the ball down. After meeting tough defense, he sent the ball to J.C. Banks who found the space to get it in and put the Armada FC back into the lead.
An altercation in first half stoppage time led to a yellow card given to Blake and Indy’s Lovel Palmer being ejected from the match. The teams went into halftime with Armada FC leading by one goal and Indy being down by one man.
Banks kept momentum going into the second half and netted his second goal in the 50th minute. Following a corner kick, he found himself in front of the net to tap in a shot fired by Jemal Johnson around the 18 yard line.
The final goal for the Armada FC came in the 60th minute by Gebhard. Johnson was there again with the assist and sent the ball toward the net. It then only took one touch by Gebhard to give Armada FC the fourth goal.
The intensity did not end there though. It picked up.
“They put us under a good bit of pressure but luckily we had a good lead before we lost our goalkeeper,” said Lowry.
Caleb Patterson-Sewell was ejected in the 68th minute from the match after a hand ball outside the penalty area. With both teams down to 10 men, Jemal Johnson was subbed out so Kyle Nasta could fill the goalkeeper position.
Nasta held strong right after taking the pitch in his NASL debut. He immediately faced a free kick but saved the ball by knocking it out. Five more shots were sent toward the goal but he saved each one and kept Indy Eleven from notching another goal.
“[Nasta] went in and made some great saves,” said Lowry. “He showed the composure and we believe in him. In terms of shot-stopping, he’s fantastic.”
The Armada FC victory was the first over Indy Eleven in Indianapolis, and the second loss Indy faced at home this season. The wins secures Jacksonville’s second place seat and sets the stage for another top-of-the-table battle against the Miami FC next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Ricardo Silva Stadium in Miami.