The last time the Cosmos hosted the Armada, they were fresh off their season opener win at home over the Ottawa Fury. The Armada, on the other hand, were just starting their season on the road at Shuart, a difficult ask of any team, but certainly quite a demand for team that had experienced significant turnover to their roster under a new coach.
The Armada now have a spring season under their belt, but they will still face a difficult test on Wednesday night, despite earning their second win of the season last weekend.
The Cosmos handed the Armada their first loss of the season that day. They bounced back five days later with a home win over Miami FC, but things went south afterwards with a nine-game winless streak to follow and a four-game losing streak in the middle of it.
On the positive side of things for Jacksonville, the Armada have capped a five-game unbeaten streak with a win over Puerto Rico FC, giving up only four goals while scoring five during this run. And while the combined table has them down at ninth place, they currently sit atop a four-way tie for second in the fall table after just two games and will have their hopes set on staying near the top.
It’s hard to pinpoint anything on this team. Head coach Tony Meola has spent the season bouncing between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formations. Mechack Jérôme, a defender, has played three different spots in his last three matches, including an appearance as a defensive mid last week. Consistency is not something that been a strong part of the Armada this year.
Recent standouts include Zach Steinberger, acquired on loan from the Houston Dynamo and who formerly played for the Indy 11. Steinberger scored their first goal of the fall. Jemal Johnson, the former Cosmos, left last week in good spirits after scoring a goal and assisting on the game-winner.
Probably one of the biggest changes this season has occurred in the net. Miguel Gallardo, a fan favorite, may have finally lost his spot as Sean Lewis has started the last two matches with positive results.
On the Cosmos end of things, the only player unavailable is Roversio, out with a hamstring injury. Yasmani Duk appears to be available and it seems Ayoze is ready to go and take back the left fullback position from a David Diosa who has performed admirably across the last two matches. It’s hard to see Lucky Mkosana removed from the starting job up top after delivering three goals in two matches and having a hand in four of five scored overall. Giovanni Savarese made the decision to start Brian Holt over a healthy Jimmy Maurer in the net last week and it remains to be seen who’ll get the nod for this one.
The odds would seem to favor the Cosmos, but it will come down to two things, being clinical with their chances and shutting down the match at the end to prevent the late goals.