ARMADA FC CHARGED UP FOR REMATCH AGAINST BATTERY
The Jacksonville Armada FC (2-1 preseason) will return to the friendly confines of Community First Park at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville at 4 p.m. on Sunday for a rematch against USL side Charleston Battery (2-1-1 preseason). The Battery downed the Armada FC 1-0 on Wednesday, Feb. 18 in Charleston.
Away from the action, fans will be able to enjoy a plethora of entertainment. Beginning at 1 p.m., supporters will be able to enjoy the Armada Matchday Experience, hosted by The Beat 93.3 FM’s T-Roy and presented by PRI Productions. It is free to all match-goers and runs from 1-3:30 p.m. The experience features the Coors Light Beer Garden, merchandise and concessions areas and The Armada Soccer Experience – a range of inflatable soccer attractions for fans of all ages. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy the experience.
Fans will also be able to join the Armada FC March to the Match from the main stage into the stadium via East Duval Street and A. Philip Randolph Street, at 3:15 p.m.
Jacksonville FC Vice President Steve Nix will continue the club’s pre-match, flag-raising tradition and hoist the Armada FC club flag over Community First Park at 3:50 p.m.
DROPPING THE ANCHOR
Sunday’s match is the Armada FC’s second at Community First Park. It will be a rematch with the Charleston Battery, who previously downed Jacksonville 1-0 on Wednesday, Feb. 18 in Charleston, S.C., on an Austin Savage goal in the second half. The Armada FC were coming off days of intense training and were without Alhassane Keita in the match.
Sunday will also mark the last preseason match at Community First Park. The Armada FC will host the 4-Team Challenge March 25 and 28, which takes place at Jacksonville University on March 25 and EverBank Field on March 28. The club will then return to Community First Park on May 2 in a regular season contest against 2014 NASL Champion San Antonio Scorpions.
Keita is expected to make his return on Sunday after being sidelined for the last two matches from a training-related minor leg injury. The 31-year-old striker from Guinea scored a goal on Feb. 7 in the Armada FC’s 3-1 over the Philadelphia Union.
Both Pascal Millien and Shawn Nicklaw will be playing their final preseason match with the club, as they were both called up to play international friendlies with their respective nations. Millien will join the Haitian national team for a friendly against China on March 27 in Guangzhou, China and a friendly against another Asian nation (TBD) on March 31. Nicklaw will play for Guam against Hong Kong on March 28 in Hong Kong. Both will return in time for the Armada FC’s season opener on April 4 against FC Edmonton.
Jacksonville was awarded an NASL club on July 25, 2013, after a league meeting in Dallas. Owner Mark Frisch and general manager Dario Sala formed the Sunshine Soccer Group to bring professional soccer in Jacksonville. On Feb. 18, 2014, the club was officially branded the Jacksonville Armada FC. On June 11, 2014, the club announced Argentinian José Luis Villarreal and later announced on Jan. 26, 2015, that he would be joined at the helm with long-time friend and Lionel Messi mentor Guillermo Hoyos as co-head coach. On Oct. 21, 2014, former Orlando City SC goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo was signed as the first player in club history.
LAST TIME OUT
The Armada FC weathered murky weather in the club’s debut at Community First Park in front of 5,232 fans to defeat NASL intrastate rival Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1-0. In what was described as an intense matchup, Nicklaw knocked home a cross from Lucas Trejo in the 45th minute in what proved to be the game-winner. The second half saw near misses from Jemal Johnson and Bochy Hoyos and superb goalkeeping from both Miguel Gallardo and David Sierra. Pascal Millien was named Farah & Farah Man of the Match.
Matt Bahner, second team All-USL in 2014, played for the Harrisburg City Islanders in 2013 and 2014 and is 1-5 all-time against the Battery … Gallardo, who tended goal for four years for Orlando City SC when it was a USL side, holds an 8-3-1 career record against the Battery … Battery trialist Stephan Campbell played with Gallardo for two years (2010 and 2011) with the Austin Aztex, which relocated and rebanded to Orlando City SC in 2011 … Nicklaw, who played for the Wilmington Hammerheads in 2013, is 1-2 all-time against Charleston … Joseph Toby, who formerly played with USL side Arizona United SC, is 0-2 against the Battery.
SCOUTING THE BATTERY
The Charleston Battery, coached by Mike Anhaeuser, are 2-1-1 in the preseason with victories over higher-division opponents the Armada FC and Houston Dynamo (MLS). The club finished with an 11-8-10 record in 2014, good for fifth place in the USL and a spot in the playoffs. The team was led by Dane Kelly, who was named to the USL All-League first team last September after finishing with 10 goals in the regular season. The Battery dropped its 2-1 playoff match against Richmond on an extra time goal.
Source: Jacksonville Armada FC Media