The Jacksonville Armada rode first half goals by Aaron Pitchkolan and Jack Blake to beat Miami United FC 2–1 in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Playing on an artificial turf field with a very bouncy surface, both teams struggled to control the ball. However, Jacksonville maintained the bulk of possession in the first half but fell behind by a goal in the 32nd minute when Miami United took advantage on a counterattack as Jacopo Camilli pushed one past Armada goalkeeper Kyle Nasta.
Jacksonville responded three minutes later, when Aaron Pitchkolan headed in a second ball off a corner kick. It was the captain's first goal as a member of the Armada. That leveled the game at 1-1.
In the 41st minute, the Armada drew a penalty in Miami's box when Jack Blake was taken down. Blake, then stepped up and delivered from the penalty spot. That gave Jacksonville a 2-1 lead and marked the last goal of the game.
Both teams had opportunities in the second half, but the final 45 minutes was marred by physical play and seven yellow cards.
"We kind of put ourselves in hole, but it was nice to come back and get two goals in the first half," said Pitchkolan. "And to get out of here with three points, that was the goal all along."
Jacksonville advances to the third round, May 31, when they host the Charleston Battery on Wednesday at Southern Oaks Stadium at Jacksonville University.
Last year, the Armada topped Charleston 2–1 in U.S. Open Cup play.
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