Jacksonville plays Palm Beach United on the road Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Benjamin High School
The Armada FC and Palm Beach United will play each other for the first time Saturday, and for the first of two matches during this NPSL season.
Palm Beach United, formerly known as Beaches FC, rebranded its team in 2018 by changing its name, logo and team colors to bring a new feel to its club with a black and white color scheme.
Palm Beach United lost its first game of the season 2-4 against Naples United FC on May 12, but was able to bounce back with an impressive 2-1 victory against Miami United FC on May 20. In that win, Palm Beach midfielder Markus Smarzoch scored a brace that handed Miami its only loss of the season. The club then fell 1-0 to Miami FC 2 in its last match on May 26.
Palm Beach United is currently 5th in the NPSL Sunshine Conference after playing three games.
The Armada FC looks to hold its top spot of the NPSL Sunshine Conference Saturday on the road against Palm Beach United. Jacksonville has yet to drop a game in league play, and continues to play well against its NPSL opponents.
The Armada FC made some tactical changes in Wednesday’s match that proved to be successful. Head coach Mark Lowry brought the team out in a 3-5-2 formation that showcased its young, offensive talent while still maintaining a strong, defensive prowess.
“Using a 3-5-2 formation allows us to get Camilo [Portilla], Josh [Castellanos], and Derek [Gebhard] on the field together,” Lowry said after Wednesday’s match. “And they’re exciting players, so we want to see them get minutes and get better.”
Condensing the defense could be a result of a recent loss from the Armada FC backline. The club announced Thursday defender Drew Beckie is transferring to the OKC Energy FC.
Jacksonville Armada FC (3W-1D-0L, 10 pts., 1st NPSL Sunshine Conference)
Palm Beach United (1W-0D-2L, 3 pts., 6th NPSL Sunshine Conference)
CLUB QUICK LINKS
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Armada FC forward Derek Gebhard has been hot as of late. Gebhard has been aggressive this year, and is responsible for scoring the two winning goals in the last two matches for the Armada FC.
The 22-year-old Maryland native signed with the Armada FC U-23 team in 2015, and moved up to the Armada FC in 2016. In 2017, Gebhard started 15 matches, and ended the season with four goals and one assist. He was named Man of the Match three times.
Armada FC midfielder Camilo Portilla has given head coach Mark Lowry good reason to integrate younger players into the rotation. Portilla has been aggressive on the offensive side, using a combination of skilled footwork and speed to create multiple scoring chances for the Armada FC.
Portilla nearly scored just six minutes into Wednesday’s match, but was rejected by Miami’s goalkeeper with an arduous save. He quickly responded five minutes laterby assisting Derek Gebhard on the game-winning goal.
The Armada FC will continue its NPSL schedule on the road Thursday against Miami United FC. The team will try to get revenge on Miami after its 2-0 loss on May 23, which knocked them out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the Third Round.
ABOUT JACKSONVILLE ARMADA FC
Jacksonville Armada FC is a professional soccer club in Jacksonville, Fla. that is a member of the North American Soccer League (NASL) and is playing in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) in 2018. For more information about Armada FC, visit JacksonvilleArmada.com. Follow the Armada FC on Twitter and Instagram at @JaxArmadaFC and Facebook at Facebook.com/JaxArmadaFC.