RECAP | United 3, Armada FC 2

Minnesota United and Jacksonville Armada FC played a scoreless 45 minutes at NSC Stadium
Minnesota United Staff | May 23, 2015

Photo Credit: Minnesota United

Minnesota United secured its third straight victory, earning a 3-2 result over Jacksonville Armada FC in front of 9,012  in attendance at NSC Stadium. Pablo Campos, Tiago Calvano, and Miguel Ibarra found the net with a flurry of goals in the second half.

Rain began to fall just before the start of the match, and set the tone for a physical match in the first ever meeting between the clubs. A first minute yellow to Cristiano Dias wouldn't deter players from throwing their weight around. By the end of the first 45 minutes, there had been three yellow cards given out.

"I'm excited about the three points," United head coach Manny Lagos. "We let the Armada back in the game a few times, but we were able to deal with the situation and earn the win. It was a physical match, but we worked hard to win the individual battles and control the game."

Both teams struggled to find the net with their shots, but created several dangerous chances. Jacksonville was looking to catch United goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock off his line with several shots from distance, all of which ended up in the stands. United's best chances came off the head of Pablo Campos, who turned a few crosses toward the net, but Armada FC ‘keeper David Sierra was able to make the stop.

As the rain subsided in the second half, a flood of goals followed. Minnesota started the flurry after midfielder Kalif Alhassan was tripped cutting into the penalty area. Forward Pablo Campos stepped up for the Loons and slotted the ball home to put Minnesota on the board – good for his third goal of the season. 

Five minutes later, United doubled its lead. A corner from defender Kevin Venegas was headed towards goal but deflected by an Armada FC defender trying clear the ball. It fell to Tiago Calvano, who was waiting on the post to tap the ball in. The assistant referee's flag was up, and Minnesota appealed for the goal. The referee conferred with his assistant and awarded the goal, saying the defender made a deliberate play on the ball and negated Calvano being offside.

Jacksonville halved United's lead after a series of deflections in the Minnesota penalty area led to a chance. United blocked a shot near the penalty spot and the ball ended up at the foot of Armada FC midfielder Pascal Millien. Millien's shot tipped off the fingers of goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock and the chest of Venegas in desperate attempts to save the ball, but to no avail.

Minnesota struck back five minutes later thanks to an interception from J.C. Banks, making his first start for United. Banks played a hard pass to Campos, who then chipped the ball over the defense to midfielder Miguel Ibarra, who was sprinting toward goal. Ibarra took the shot on his first touch to beat Sierra as he rushed out to make it 3-1 Minnesota.

The Armada FC would not go down without a fight, though, making sure to dent United's goal differential as much as possible. After a harsh tackle from Calvano, Jemal Johnson stepped up for the free kick, looking for redemption after several missed chances. Johnson's effort was a perfectly placed shot to the top corner of the net, beating Ndjock despite the ‘keeper getting a hand on the ball.

After an exciting second half, the match ended 3-2 in favor of Minnesota, getting its third straight win and third straight sellout. With the victory, Minnesota moved to second in the Spring Season standings.

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