The teams force a 1-1 draw at Hodges Stadium Friday Night
The Jacksonville Armada FC picked up one point Friday night with a draw against North Carolina FC at University of North Florida‘s Hodges Stadium. Thanks to Ryan Palmer and Rp Productions & Services for hanging out with My9oh4 and Buddy’s Home Furnishings Beach Blvd. Stay #active with Lockedin Magazine.
The point places the Armada FC back into a position to participate in the NASL Championship Semifinals, with three more matches still to gather points.
“That was a really high level game of football. You could tell by the speed of the game from start to finish,” head coach Mark Lowry said. “We did enough to win. I thought the guys were fantastic, we showed tonight that we can beat anybody and play with anybody.”
Fans packed Hodges Stadium for the match against North Carolina FC. Almost 5,000 people flocked to the Friday the 13th matchup, making it Jacksonville’s largest attendance at Hodges Stadium.
The first opportunity for the Armada FC came when J.C. Banks launched the ball down the field to teammate Ciaran Kilduff, who was able to break away from the pack. North Carolina was able to track him down and break up his run though.
The Armada FC’s momentum paid off when they finally struck first. Tony Taylor dribbled the ball, beating a defender with his fancy footwork. Taylor was then able to put the ball in perfect position for Zach Steinberger, who easily netted his first goal in four months, giving Jacksonville the 1-0 lead in the 21stminute.
North Carolina did not let the Armada FC keep the lead though. Renan Gorne was able to net the ball past Caleb-Patterson Sewell, to equalize the match in the 36th minute.
Banks tried to get Jacksonville ahead again by darting up the field with three defenders hot on his trail. He was able to get a good shot off, but North Carolina FC’s goalkeeper, Macklin Robinson, saved his attempt.
Neither squad was able to take the lead again in the first half, so the teams went into the halftime break tied at one.
North Carolina FC came out of the break quick to try to get ahead. During the 49th minute, Steven Miller launched a promising ball from some distance, but it bounced off the woodwork.
Jacksonville desperately wanted the lead in front of the large crowd though. Banks set up teammate Steinberger right in front of the goal, but they were unable to capitalize on the attempt.
“We need to win these games because the [teams are] so tight right now and every point matters,” Banks said.
Derek Gebhard displayed his speed with fresh legs after subbing on in the 78th minute. The forward launched a ball that went just high of the goal.
Minutes later, Ciaran Kilduff found the end of a cross by Kalen Ryden and hit a promising header for the Armada FC, but Robinson launched upward to save the ball.
Neither team was able to score a goal in the second half, resulting in a 1-1 draw for the squads.
“From now on, getting points is going to be crucial whether that is a win or a tie. We [always] hope to pick up the three points,” Steinberger said.
The Armada FC continues its final home stint of the Fall Season with a midweek matchup with FC Edmonton. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Hodges Stadium and tickets are on sale now at ArmadaFC.com/single-match.
JAX (4-4-2): Patterson-Sewell, Rebellón, Jérôme, Beckie, Ryden, Pitchkolan, George, Steinberger (Gebhard 78’), Banks (Eloundou 89’), Taylor, Kilduff
NCFC (4-1-4-1): Robinson, Tobin, Black, Moses, Ibeagha, Kandziora, Miller (Marcelin 85’), Albadawi, Da Luz, Fortune (Akinyode 90’+1’), Gorne (Schuler 63’)
JAX: Steinberger 21’
NCFC: Gorne 36’
NCFC: Black 23’
JAX: Ryden 75’