Wenger training

Philadelphia Union drop opening preseason match to Jacksonville Armada FC

In their opening preseason match of the 2015 campaign, Philadelphia Union lost 3-1 to Jacksonville Armada FC, Saturday night at EverBank Field. The match was the first ever in the history of Armada FC and featured 13,934 fans, the largest attendance for a North American Soccer League preseason game. Andrew Wenger was the lone goalscorer for the Union.

“It was our first preseason match, we played 30 guys,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “We’re down here to experiment a little, and I thought we played three balanced groups. Give credit to Jacksonville, they came out and put us under pressure right from the start. There’s still a base of fitness we got out of it – it was a high-tempo game.”

Feeding off the strong fan support, Armada FC dictated the pace for much of the first 15 minutes. In the eighth minute, Fabricio Ortiz put Armada ahead off of a failed clearance. Alhassane Keita scored three minutes later to put Jacksonville ahead 2-0.

“They made it uncomfortable – there were 13,000 fans out there,” Curtin said. “It was a good experience for some of our younger guys to play in that atmosphere.”

The Union settled down after 15 minutes and started to pile on pressure in front of the Armada net. Wenger finally put the team on the board in the 24th minute. Sheanon Williams created the play, winning a tackle near midfield then started the counterattack. He easily found a streaking Wenger inside the box, who slotted it into the open net.

“I thought Andrew Wenger had a really strong performance,” Curtin said. “A couple of the younger guys were up to the task. You learn a lot in games. You can play 5v5 and 8v8 and look good in training, but when the lights get bright, the game gets a lot faster, it’s who are the guys who can compete? We’ll take it, analyze it and learn from it. We played a lot of young guys on the field and we got some experience out of it, which was needed.”

Jacksonville Armada FC 3, Philadelphia Union 1
EverBank Field
Jacksonvile, Fla.

JAX – Ortiz (Hoyos) 8’
JAX – Keita (Millien) 11’
PHI – Wenger (Williams) 23’
JAX – Trejo (PK) 45’

JAX – Scaglia (Yellow) 43’
PHI – Konate (Yellow) 52’
PHI – Fabinho (Yellow) 89’

Blake; Lee, Edu, White, Williams; Carroll, Gassama; Wenger, Maidana, McLaughlin; Sapong.

Gallardo; Trejo, Ortiz, Bahner, Nicklaw; Hoyos, Millien, Scaglia, Castrillon; Keita, Johnson.

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