It’s happening, finally. The Armada kick off their inaugural season TOMORROW against FC Edmonton. It’s been a long time since that July day in 2013, when Jacksonville was awarded an NASL club, but it’s all going to pay off.
The Armada have put together a great team on paper. There’s talent all around the field and the team should really be banging in the goals. An inflatable kraken has kind of cursed the goal scoring, but that’s nothing Tommy Krizanovic can’t fix.
With the season starting tomorrow, I decided to throw out some bold predictions for the upcoming year and finally narrowed it down to five that weren’t TOO crazy.
If you listened to the most recent episode of the Armada Breakfast Club Poscast, I’m repeating myself on two of my predictions, but read on for the other three!
1. Marcos Flores will win NASL player of the year
It’s no secret that Marcos Flores hasn’t played at his top level so far. I was at a loss to explain why that would be until he said in an interview that the coaches were moving him around and playing him at roles different from his usual #10 spot. It’s fairly obvious that the #10 role is where he’s best suited to play, and I think the coaches will limit him to that role in-season. This will, in turn, be a huge boost for him and he’ll come away from the season with the NASL player of the year award.
2. Alhassane Keita will lead the league in scoring.
Alhassane Keita ran circles around the Philadelphia Union in the Armada’s first pre-season match. He got hurt and missed some time, which limited his ability to get on the same page as the other attackers. Everything will click though, and Alhassane Keita will finish the year with 15+ goals and the most in the league.
3. The Armada will win the spring season.
This one is kind of out there. Judging by the preseason, this is way out there. But preseason is for experimenting, I guess, and now that the real fun is here, the team will come out of the gate flying. The spring season is 10 games, so a run of good results could mean a spring season trophy will make its way to Jacksonville.
BONUS: Winning either half of the season qualifies you for the playoffs. The Armada will win their first ever playoff game. WRITE IT DOWN.
4. The Armada will beat an MLS team in the US Open Cup.
SUPER SMALL SAMPLE SIZE ALERT. The Armada are undefeated against MLS opposition in their history (a staggering 1-0-0) so obviously that means they’ll never lose to an MLS team. Of course, the flip side of this is they’re winless against USL competition (0-0-2), so hopefully they don’t get a USL team in the Open Cup.
5. The co-head coach position will become a monster worthy of Ancient Greek Ballads
The Armada currently have two head coaches. Weird, but I’ll try anything once. The issue will arise when one of these coaches decides (either voluntarily or voluntoldily) that it’s time to move on. Now logically, when this happens, the team can just remove the “co-” from “co-head coach” and call it a day.
But I’m afraid it won’t be that simple.
We may be seeing the rebirth of the mythical Hydra. Cut off one head coach and two head coaches will replace him. First the kraken, now this. Maybe one day our Hercules and Iolaus will come to defeat it, become our co-head coaches, and start the process all over again.