JACKSONVILLE The Miami FC visited Jacksonville Armada FC for the first time this season on Saturday night and imposed its will against the defensive-minded Armada, taking the match 1-0.
First-place Miami FC is now unbeaten in its past seven NASL matches, earned its fourth shutout of the season and opened up a five-point lead over second-place Jacksonville.
Jacksonville would open up the match in a defensive shell, but the Miami FC would not let it affect its game plan.
The Orange and Blue would get the first shot of the match, with midfielder Blake Smith’s left-footed shot getting blocked in the second minute.
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Forward Stéfano Pinho’s speed was a nuisance for Armada FC in the first half, with the Brazilian consistently getting behind its backline and nearly scoring in the 17th minute.
The Miami FC’s patience on the ball would finally pay off in the 35th minute. Smith pushed up the left flank and floated a ball to the far post.
As the defense focused in on the dangerous Vincenzo Rennella, midfielder Dylan Mares made his way to the far post and headed home the ball for his third goal of the season.
Jacksonville would try to push back in the second half, but the Miami defense would be up to the task.
A counterattack in the 48th minute put forward Rennella one-on-one with Armada FC keeper Caleb Patterson-Sewel, who came up with a kick save to keep Rennella off the scoresheet.
Sixty minutes into the match, the Jacksonville offense finally started to test the Orange and Blue defense, but to no avail.
Miami FC’s victory was still in doubt in the 84th minute, when Jacksonville was able to create two dangerous opportunities. The first was a header that found the side netting and the second was a soft shot that keeper Daniel Vega saved easily.
Armada FC would continue to try to crack the Miami defense, but the Orange and Blue would eventually walk away with the tight victory.