Early in its inaugural season, the Jacksonville Armada have shown what an expansion franchise should look like and how to operate. Unfortunately for them, their success off the field hasn't been felt on the field. After winning their first game in front of a record NASL crowd, the Armada have dropped two games, both against their Coastal Cup rivals, Tampa Bay & Fort Lauderdale.
San Antonio hasn't started its season the way they would like either. After dropping their first two home games, the Alamo boys stole a point from Minnesota United in their first away game. The Scorpions have looked better in each game and will look to get their first win of the season.
Last season & Outlook.
The Armada don't have a last season. Expectations are high in Florida though as the team had a very successful pre-season and look to disrupt the NASL standings. Most expansion teams haven't fared well in their first seasons, except for San Antonio and New York, though. Last year, Ottawa and Indy Eleven both struggled all season long and the same fate could be in store for the Armada. I predicted that they would be a dark horse playoff contender but we'll have to wait and see how that turns out.
San Antonio tweaked its roster this week that bolstered its defense. The Scorpions acquired Bright Dike on loan from MLS side Toronto FC, traded Richard Menjivar to Tampa Bay for Brad Rusin, and captain Adrian Cann returned from injury. While Richie was a fan favorite, he plays in the midfield where we have plenty of talented players. It seemed as though he wasn't going to get much playing time in San Antonio. In addition, he will more than likely be playing for El Salvador in this summer's Gold Cup and would be unavailable for the Scorpions during that time. In Rusin, the Scorpions get an experienced defender who has height. Pair him with Cann and our defense now has a few more guys who are tall who can really make a difference for us on set pieces.
Players to watch.
I have yet to see an Armada game but I'm confident that San Antonio will put a lot of focus on their forward, Alhassane Keita.
On the San Antonio side, I am going to be watching our second year player, Billy Forbes. Billy was the NASL's assist leader in 2014 and scored a few goals as well. Billy has been relatively quiet in the first three games this season. He was able to score a hat-trick on Tuesday when the Scorpions scrimmaged the All-Air Force soccer team. Even though it was not against a professional club it should help boost his confidence going forward. I'll be looking at him to create more opportunities and take the ones that are given to him.
In their second consecutive away match, I'm going to say that the Scorpions will go into Jacksonville and finally get all three points for the first time this season with a scoreline of 2-0.
The game is this Saturday, May 2nd at 6:30 pm CST at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida. #JAXvSAS
Soccer On -ASC
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