July 16, 2017 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Jacksonville Armada FC
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (July 15, 2017) - The Jacksonville Armada FC (6W-6D-4L, 24 pts, 3rd place) fell tonight to the Indy Eleven (4W-8D-4L, 20 pts, 5th place) in the final game of the North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season. Although not finishing the season in second place, Jacksonville will head into the Fall Season in a prime position to secure a playoff spot.
"Indy is historically the toughest place in the league to play," said head coach Mark Lowry. "We went toe to toe for 90 minutes."
The Armada FC showed promise in the first half, with quick attacking to create opportunities.
J.C. Banks was the first with a great opportunity in the 27th minute. He took a powerful shot from outside the 18-yard line, but the ball just barely scraped the crossbar and went over.
Derek Gebhard used his speed to get ahead of the Indy defenders multiple times. After receiving the ball from Jack Blake, he had a close shot in the 44th minute that was saved and kept the Armada FC off the board going into halftime.
"[Gebhard is] getting better every game," said head coach Mark Lowry. "When he has that speed, and when he starts to learn how to use it, which he is, it is a wonderful thing to watch and a massive threat for us."
The score was tied at nill-nill when the teams took the field to begin the second half, but that changed just three minutes later.
Nemanja Vukovic of Indy Eleven found the back of the net after a corner to put Indy on the board.
Jemal Johnson tried to equalize shortly after, but his strong attempt from some distance was saved at the near post by Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Craig Henderson recorded the second goal for Indy Eleven in the 68th minute after receiving the ball from Éamon Zayed.
Despite being down by two, Banks came through with some last-ditch effort in stoppage time. He received the ball from Kalen Ryden and headed it toward the center of the goal, but Busch once again knocked away the attempt.
The Armada FC recorded eleven shots altogether, with five on target. The team also held 54 percent of the possession overall. The defense held strong with 21 clearances too, but Jacksonville's effort was not rewarded in the season finale.
The club will return to Jacksonville for a short break before beginning the Fall Season on July 30 at Hodges Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. against the San Francisco Deltas.
"The guys have been fantastic and exceeded all expectations for this spring," said Lowry. "We are now a team that others do not like playing against and we need to continue this hard work and high standards throughout the fall."