Jacksonville hosts first-ever playoff match Wednesday in the NPSL Sunshine Conference Semifinals
The Armada FC will face Miami United FC for the fourth time this year with more on the line than any of the previous matches. The winner of Wednesday night’s match will earn the opportunity to compete for the NPSL Sunshine Conference title against Miami FC 2 Saturday in Miami.
Making the playoffs for the first time in club history is not only significant for the Armada FC, but also for the entire city of Jacksonville and its soccer community. Jacksonville has not had a professional soccer team make the playoffs since the Tea Men in its first season in 1981.
The Armada FC closed the regular season on a strong note at Hodges Stadium Saturday night against Naples United FC. Jacksonville defeated Naples 2-0 and clinched the No. 2 seed in the NPSL Sunshine Conference Playoffs.
The two teams were deadlocked at 0-0 throughout the first half until Armada FC defender Mechack Jérôme scored on a free kick in extra time.
The Armada FC carried the momentum from Jérôme’s goal into the second half and tallied an insurance goal in the 73rd minute to make the score 2-0. The goal came from Alhassane Keita, who was subbed into the match only three minutes prior.
Miami United FC’s last match was a 2-1 victory on the road against Palm Beach United on June 30. Miami was down 1-0 early in the match, but scored two unanswered goals to win its last game of the season and secure a spot in the conference playoffs.
Miami’s last playoff appearance was in 2016 when the team lost in penalty kicks to Chattanooga FC in the NPSL Regional Final on July 23. During that year, Miami finished the season with a 9W-1L-0D record and was the only team to qualify for the playoffs from the Sunshine Conference.
If the Armada FC wins Wednesday, the team will face Miami FC 2 on the road Saturday for the Sunshine Conference Final. Miami FC 2 finished first in the conference with an 8W-3D-1L record. The team’s only blemish was a 1-0 defeat to the Armada FC on June 6 at Hodges Stadium.