Jacksonville Armada FC and New York Cosmos Play To 4-4 Tie In Final Regular Season Game
An eight-goal thriller between the Jacksonville Armada FC and New York Cosmos was delivered to a sellout crowd in the last home match of the season for at Hodges Stadium and Ryan Palmer and Rp Productions & Services was there catching all the action.
“We were expecting a physical game against New York, both of our seasons are on the line. It was the biggest game of the season for the both of us. We were going to throw everything we could at each other, we knew it would be physical, we knew it’d be a battle,” Kalen Ryden said. “There was blood was drawn, we expected that it was a good hard-fought game.”
Sunday night ended in a 4-4 draw at Hodges Stadium. Three goals for the Armada FC came from players with no previous goals this year and late match heroics by Charles Eloundou equalized the score.
The draw leaves Jacksonville with one more match to decide their fate in the postseason NASL Championship tournament. If the Cosmos lose their last match and the Armada FC wins Saturday against the San Francisco Deltas, Jacksonville would secure the fourth and final playoff seat.
With a playoff spot on the line, both teams came ready for an intense battle. There was high energy and productivity early on by both squads.
Jacksonville understood that they needed to score and did just that right out of the gate. Four minutes in, Zach Steinberger netted his eighth goal of the year off an assist from Derek Gebhard.
Less than four minutes later, New York’s David Ochieng was able to create space and net a goal though to equalize the score.
“After it was 1-1 I knew it was going to be another crazy game,” head coach Mark Lowry said. “It was just a case of who was going to score the most.”
The Armada FC continued to push and tried to convert their chances into goals. Tony Taylor attempted an acrobatic kick off of a corner kick, but was unable to make enough contact with the ball.
Kalen Ryden attempted a promising goal in the 22nd minute, but the ball hit the post. Drew Beckie was able to head the ball off the rebound however into the unattended net, giving him his first goal of the season and his first since college. Jacksonville snatched the lead back with a 2-1 scoreline.
“It’s nice to score, but I’m just doing my job trying to get in the back post and get all the rebounds and that is what I did. It took long enough. I’ve been blank for six years,” Beckie said.
Momentum was still on the Armada FC’s side. Four minutes later, Ryden extended the home team’s lead even more. He scored his first goal of the season during the 25th minute, giving Jacksonville a 3-1 advantage over the Cosmos.
“You see Drew score, then Kalen score, and you’re like okay this could be our day today,” Lowry said.
The Armada FC went into halftime with a 3-1 lead in the pivotal game.
Out of the halftime break, action only intensified. Eugene Starikov was able to place the ball just over Caleb Patterson-Sewell’s head to score a goal in the 58th minute to start chipping away at the deficit.
The Cosmos continued their push, as they tried to neutralize the score. Patterson-Sewell dove to save another attempt by Starikov, leaving the score at 3-2.
On the attack, New York’s Lucky Mkosana was able to fake the goalkeeper out and placed the ball in the lower right corner of the net to tie things up at 3-3 in the 66th minute.
Mechack Jerome tried to give the Armada FC the lead back off a free kick, but his attempt skimmed just past the right side of the goal.
New York continued their push, taking the lead with Jimmy Mulligan. Patterson-Sewell extended his whole frame, but the ball was just out of his reach. The visitors got ahead in the 77th minute.
Jacksonville was not going down without a fight and answered back. Charles Eloundou launched a rocket toward the goal, beating goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer. The midfielder tied the score up at four all. Hodges Stadium jumped to their feet by celebrating the equalizer.
Eloundou continued to give energy off the bench. He headed a promising ball, but it went just wide of the goal post.
Neither team was able to take the lead, even with five minutes of stoppage time, leaving the score at a four all draw.
Jacksonville now looks to Saturday as they travel to San Francisco to take on the Deltas in the season finale. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET and fans can watch the action live on CW17 in Jacksonville.
JAX (4-4-2): Patterson-Sewell, Rebellon (O’Sullivan 80’), Jerome, Beckie, Ryden, Banks (Eloundou 71’), Steinberger, Blake, Gebhard, Kilduff, Taylor (Pitchkolan 60’)
New York (4-4-1-1): Maurer, Mulligan, Ochieng, Jakovic, Ayoze, Ledesma (Hawkins 81’), Guerra, Marquez, Bardic (Mkosana 58’), Flores, Starikov (Richter 91’)
JAX: Steinberger 4’
NYC: Ochieng 7′
JAX: Beckie 22’
JAX: Ryden 26’
NYC: Starikov 58’
NYC: Mikosana 66’
NYC: Mulligan 77’
JAX: Eloundou 79’
JAX: Rebellon 14’
NYC: Jakovic 18′
JAX: Kilduff 18′
JAX: Taylor 19′
JAX: Beckie 86′