Keep Your Enemy Closer: Jacksonville Armada FC U-23

Jul 8, 2019

MIAMI (July 8, 2019) - The Miami FC begins its quest for a second-consecutive NPSL National Championship on Wednesday night, as it hosts Jacksonville Armada FC U-23 in the Sunshine Conference Semifinals. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Buccaneer Field at Barry University.

Ending On a Sour Note
Jacksonville has clinched the fourth seed in the Sunshine Conference Playoffs, but it has been an up-and-down season for the young squad.

The Armada lost four of its first five matches before reeling off two straight victories and a draw in the middle of June.

Just as it appeared Jacksonville was hitting its stride, Naples United FC demoralized the Armada with a 5-0 home victory in the second-to-last week of the season.

In the regular season finale last Saturday, Jacksonville traveled south to face Miami FC and was unable to come away with any points, falling 4-1 to the reigning NPSL champions. 

Novice Group
Jacksonville was ultra-competitive in the Sunshine Conference last season and gave both Miami FC and Miami United FC a run for their money in the title race.

With an assortment of holdovers from the NASL days and a variety of new faces, the Armada had a perfect mix of young and veteran talent that allowed them to reach the Conference Final.

Going into the 2019 season, Jacksonville chose to go even younger and build their team with mainly college players.

The group struggled to begin the year, but they have melded together and have played their best football over the last month. 

Players to Watch
Eoin Hunter is Jacksonville's new talisman as the main striker in the Armada's defensive setup.

In last week's loss to Miami, Hunter scored Jacksonville's lone goal with a long distance strike that brought his team level in the 16th minute. 

The goal was Hunter's first of the season, but it was a deserved reward after Hunter earned a spot in the starting lineup throughout the season.

Quick and agile with a powerful left foot, Hunter is a danger man when Jacksonville attempts to exploit defenses with counter attacks.

Center back Ronaldo De Jesus captains Jacksonville's back line with authority.

Big-bodied and aggressive but collected, De Jesus is tough to dribble past or beat in the air.

A graduate of Barry University, De Jesus played in 15 matches last year for the Barry team that captured the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championship.

The Brazilian will certainly feel at home at Buccaneer Field on Wednesday night in one of the biggest matches of his career.

Up Next
With a win against Jacksonville on Wednesday, Miami would go on to host the Sunshine Conference Final at Buccaneer Field. The opponent would be the winner of the Naples United FC vs. Miami United FC Semifinal.