RECAP – Armada FC vs. D.C. United

J.C. Banks earns the first goal of the year in the second preseason match.
Feb 21, 2018

The Jacksonville Armada FC clashed with MLS side D.C. United Wednesday night in Clearwater, Fla. The match was a part of the Tampa Bay Rowdies Suncoast Invitational.

Although playing to a 2-1 loss, the Armada FC quickly settled into a rhythm of possession in the first half to challenge United right out of the gates. The pressure continued through the second half where J.C. Banks tucked away the first goal of the year, his second time earning that honor after 2017.


“I thought we played well today, especially for the second game of the preseason,” said Banks. “I think we started off slow each half but began to control the game after the first 5-10 minutes. The new guys are fitting in very nicely. We have only been together two weeks but they've brought some good players in and it'll only get better the more we get to know each other.”


Derek Gebhard gave the Armada FC the first opportunity of the match when he gained sight of the goal just 10 minutes in, but goalkeeper Steve Clark saved the attempt.

United answered just one minute later. Paul Arriola sent a cross to Patrick Mullins who gave United the early lead with a goal.

Ciarán Kilduff, Gebhard, and Conor Doyle began to connect up top to create more opportunities in the first half. Gebhard was able to fire a couple more shots at the goal and then Kilduff had his own chance with a close shot.


“I love what I saw tonight. I haven’t seen anything in our country that compares to our positional play and movement, and the way we build our possession. I’m not saying other teams don’t try and possess the ball, but our fluidity and positional awareness to create numerical situations is simply different to anyone else,” said Armada FC head coach Mark Lowry.


Banks saw his first opportunity in the first half too, but his shot was blocked by United’s defense to keep Jacksonville scoreless going into halftime.

United was able to break through the defense to apply pressure to trialist goalkeeper Aleks Gogic. He was forced to make some saves early in the second half and United did not let up. In the 60th minute the ball became loose in front of the goal and Gogic made the first quick block, but lost it on the rebound and D.C. went ahead 2-0 with a goal by ?

Jacksonville’s forward momentum finally paid off in the 79th minute. A shot by Doyle deflected, then Banks found the rebound in front of the net to put the Armada FC on the board.

Even into the waning minutes of the match, the Armada FC fought to keep United from gaining more ground. Gogic knocked out another United chance in the 85th minute and then Mechack Jérôme cleared out the subsequent corner kick.

Jacksonville received one final opportunity in stoppage time by earning a free kick just outside of the box, but it was blocked. The whistle blew and United took home a 2-1 win.


“We scrambled to put this group together and we have only been together for 16 days,” said Lowry. “We are nowhere near close to being match-fit, but the football on show today for 70 minutes was truly inspiring. The understanding of the players in such a short time is incredible. It was a joy to watch and it’s a privilege to work with these guys.”