Armada draw with Edmonton, face must win Sunday at home
Next, host New York Cosmos with playoff life on the line
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Armada picked up one point in a 1-1 draw with Edmonton in a midweek matchup at Hodges Stadium. Jacksonville falls behind in the standings as the postseason draws near, but has two more matches to gain points for a position in the Championship.
FC Edmonton had the first good look at the goal eight minutes into the game when Albert Watson launched a header toward the net. Armada FC goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell made a spectacular save to leave them scoreless.
Zach Steinberger then had a promising chance for the Armada FC. The midfielder was able to connect a header to a pass from Jack Blake, but the rocket shot found the hands of goalkeeper Nathan Ingham.
Blake stepped up for a free kick in the 16th minute and crossed the ball to teammate Kalen Ryden. He dove to head the ball, but the target was just out of reach and it sailed over the top of the crossbar.
Blake’s effort then paid off in the 39th minute. He put the Jacksonville on the board after receiving the ball from J.C. Banks just inside the box. He tucked it away in the corner of the net to give the Armada FC the 1-0 lead.
“I saw Mechack (Jerome) play a great diagonal ball, and as soon as I saw J.C. had the ball under control, I started my sprint,” said Blake. “I know he’s very good one-on-one. He likes to come inside. Luckily he saw me and it was a great pass. It wasn’t just me, it was a team goal.”
Jacksonville went into the halftime break with a one-goal lead over FC Edmonton.
The halftime break did nothing to stop the Armada FC because they were still going full-throttle. Within the first minute of the second period, Banks launched a shot on goal.
Edmonton continued to test Patterson-Sewell, and he continued to pass. Sainey Nyassi attempted one of Edmonton’s most promising shots of the night, but a great reaction save from Patterson-Sewell kept them stuck at nil.
Edmonton was finally able to get on the board in the 61st minute. Daryl Fordyce and Jake Keegan got ahead of the pack to threaten Patterson-Sewell. Keegan found the equalizer.
Jacksonville desperately wanted the win though. Derek Gebhard put the ball in good position after subbing on late in the second half. He sent it to Ryden, who attempted a great shot that was deflected.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with both teams picking up a point as the postseason draws closer.
In other league results, the New York Cosmos won 4-1 against Puerto Rico FC on Wednesday. Jacksonville needs three points Sunday to overtake the Cosmos in the standings for a playoff position.
“Of course [playoff hopes are still alive]. As long as there is still an opportunity and a path in which we can pick up points against the Cosmos, I think it will make for an interesting last week. Anything can happen,” Pitchkolan said.
Next the Armada FC will face the New York Cosmos this Sunday, Oct. 22 for the last home match of the Fall Season. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. at Hodges Stadium. The game will televised live on CW17.
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