Scouting The Opponent: Jacksonville Armada FC

Jacksonville needs three points in playoff race
Published Oct 21, 2017

The New York Cosmos travel to Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville for the second leg of their Florida road trip as they battle Jacksonville Armada FC for the fifth and final time during the 2017 season with a 4:00 pm meeting on Sunday afternoon.

The Cosmos and Armada have been close in the Combined Standings for most of the season, and Sunday’s matchup is the biggest one for both teams. With a win, New York clinches a spot in The Championship playoffs. With a Cosmos loss or draw, the final playoff spot in the NASL won’t be decided until the final week of the season.

New York can’t take this Jacksonville squad lightly, as the Cosmos have yet to beat the Armada this season (3D-1L). Here are some players New York will look to contain on Sunday afternoon. 

Goalkeeper: Caleb Patterson-Sewell

Ranking third in the NASL with nine clean sheets, Jacksonville goalkeeper, Caleb Patterson-Sewell, has been a steady force in net for the club. Also tied for third in the league with 77 games, the 30-year-old keeper has started all but one game in the Armada net this season.

Patterson-Sewell has been in goal for all four matchups against New York. In the teams’ most recent meeting on September 17 at MCU Park, the keeper gave up three late goals as the Cosmos rallied to earn a point in a 3-3 draw.  

Defender: Aaron Pitchkolan

Jacksonville captain, Aaron Pitchkolan, has been one of the NASL’s most steady defenders in his seventh year in the league. While he has yet to find the net in 29 league games this season, he has been stable on the back line. His 124 total clearances rank him fourth in the league. When Pitchkolan has the ball, he is unlikely to give it up as he has found a teammate on 88.4 percent of his 1,781 passes, the second most passes in the NASL behind teammate Mechack Jerome.

The 34-year-old began his NASL journey in 2011 with the Puerto Rico Islanders. He then played one season for the San Antonio Scorpions and four seasons for Minnesota United FC before signing with Jacksonville this February. He was named team captain on February 28.

Midfielder: Jack Blake

Jacksonville’s leading scorer is midfielder, Jack Blake. With nine goals, he is tied for fifth in the NASL in scoring.  A dangerous player with the ball at his feet, he has made 131 crosses to rank fifth in the NASL. However, discipline has been an issue for Blake as his eight yellow cards put him third in the league.

The 2017 season has been full of awards so far for the 23-year-old England native, as he has been named to the NASL Team of the Week three times while also being recognized as the NASL Player of the Month in August. Blake has scored one goal against New York this season, a penalty kick in the 3-3 draw at MCU Park on September 17.

Forward: Tony Taylor

While midfielder, Tony Taylor, hasn’t been with Jacksonville Armada FC for a long time, he is familiar with the area. The 28-year-old grew up and went to high school and college in Jacksonville before turning professional. In 10 games since signing with Jacksonville on July 28, Taylor has scored twice while completing 79.9 percent of his passes.

Born in the United States to Panamanian parents, Taylor has represented both the U.S. and Panama on the International stage. He was first called up to the Panama Senior National Team in October 2016, and has made a couple appearances in World Cup qualifiers for Panama. Taylor has also played in Major League Soccer for the New England Revolution and New York City FC.

If the Cosmos can contain these four players, they have a shot at getting the three points they need to make the playoffs.

Watch the Cosmos battle Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. on MSG Networks and ESPN3.