The Armada travel to Atlanta, somewhat unexpectedly set up to position themselves for a spring championship run. The team sits in second place, just five points behind the Cosmos, although Jacksonville does have a game in hand. The match kicks off at 7:30 at Silverbacks Park in Norcross, Georgia. It looks to be a clear night, with temperatures around 70 degrees and just a 7% chance of rain, which is literally perfect.
Local coverage begins at 7:00pm on The CW, while the ESPN 3 broadcast begins just before kickoff at 7:30pm.
Three Things I’m Watching For Tonight
1) Will the Silverbacks be the cure for the Armada’s away struggles?
The Armada are winless on the road this season, having previously lost to the Strikers and the Rowdies. The Armada have run out winners in their previous two matches, while the Silverbacks are riding a three game winless streak. Jacksonville has really found the groove in the 3-4-3 that the team debuted agains the Rowdies, so it seems like this may be the week to get the monkey off of their back (pun *VERY* intended).
2) Strength vs Strength: Which will win?
This match throws the league’s best-scoring team, the Armada, against the league leading defense of the Silverbacks. The Silverbacks tremendous defense is only allowing 0.67 goals per game, but the Armada are scoring at a clip of 1.8 goals per game. The Silverbacks are much like Indy in that they take a, “Defend like your life depends on it and hope you maybe score eventually sometimes” approach, so if the Armada can keep the ball moving and hold possession, I believe that they will wear the Atlanta defense down and find the net a few times.
3) Will the Armada defense hold strong?
Since the debut of the 3-4-3, the defense has been fairly shaky. The team has allowed four goals in three matches. They did have a clean sheet against Indy Eleven, but there were some spills nearby that easily could have ended up dirtying it. (Side note: Maybe stop passing cross the face of goal, guys.) Matt Bahner has been a stalwart in the back, but it’s been his defensive compatriots who have been the weak links. I can’t imagine that the leash is too long for Lucas Trejo, who has been improving but has been one of the main offenders when it comes to the mistakes.
If the Armada can continue this run of form, and if the Cosmos continue theirs, the spring season championship will come down to their match on Week 11 in New York. That will be fun.