The Armada officially ended the off-season tonight, beating the Philadelphia Union by a 1-0 score. The Armada played well, and it does look like the squad just has more to it than it did last season, but a combination of the dismal weather and #Preseason dragged the match down.
Jacksonville lined up in what can best be described as a 5-2-1-2, with Matt Bahner and Bryan Burke playing out on the defensive wings. Both players were able to make runs forward and give the attack some real width, which will be key to breaking through NASL defenses. Both looked at home on the wing, but their experience at center-back will give Tony Meola plenty of options.
Matt Fondy and Alhassane Keita had several key combinations during their time on the field. One combination ended with Keita putting the ball into the net, but he was called offside. The Fondy/Keita combo will see a lot of play throughout the season, and with some time together on the practice fields, they will build the chemistry and start knocking some goals in.
All in all, it was a good night for the club. Trialist Charles Eloundo will be happy to see his name on the scoresheet, which will help his case for a roster spot. The defensive line looked much-improved, and GK Miguel Gallardo was more confident as a result. Tonight was a solid jumping-off point for Tony Meola and his team, but there is still work to be done to be ready for the regular season.
Thankfully, it looks like everybody knows what they’re doing this time.