The Jacksonville Armada FC (6W-6D-3L) tied its final home match of the NASL Spring Season to Puerto Rico FC (1W-6D-8L) 1-1 after a header by Derek Gebhard in stoppage time.
“I saw Charles isolated and I know he’s dangerous when he’s isolated on a defender one-on-one. I just made sure I stayed in a good position,” said Gebhard. “He played a great ball and I just had to tap it in.”
After two rescheduled games, the teams were finally able to duel in UNF’s Hodges Stadium Wednesday night.
Charles Eloundou gave the Armada FC the first spark during the 31st minute. The midfielder cut past a defender for a duel with the Puerto Rico goalkeeper, Trevor Spangenberg, but Eloundou kicked the ball just wide of the target.
Puerto Rico answered back minutes later with a promising attempt of its own. Walter Ramirez kicked the ball just wide of the goal, leaving the score knotted at zero.
Puerto Rico was able to get on the scoreboard first with an own-goal by Drew Beckie in the 39th minute. Zach Steinberger then tried to neutralize the score minutes later as he attempted a shot on the goal, but it was swatted away.
After two minutes of extra time in the first half, Puerto Rico went into the break with a 1-0 lead over Jacksonville.
“Right now we’re just kind of in a scoring [drought], when you play games like that you should expect to score two, three goals a game. Right now it’s just not falling for us, but it happens that’s soccer sometimes, we’ll keep going forward,” said Steinberger.
Right out of the half, the Armada came out swinging. Derek Gebhard attempted a turnaround shot, but the ball went just wide right. With momentum still on their side, Steinberger narrowly missed a header, leaving the Armada trailing 1-0.
“Credit to the guys, their resilience was fantastic,” said Head Coach Mark Lowry. “But we’re going to have to get used to these games because if we’re not ruthless enough then the games are going to be really close when they shouldn’t. This game shouldn’t have been close based on how we played.”
During the 79th minute, Caleb Patterson-Sewell completed a spectacular save as he extended his whole body to defend the goal and kept the Armada FC’s chance of coming back.
The 92nd minute is when Jacksonville came alive as Gebhard equalized the score at one. He received the ball from Eloundou before knocking it into the back of the net.
The final match of the Spring Season will be on the road for the Armada FC. The team will travel to Indiana to face Indy Eleven on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST.