Tulsa Athletic defeats previously unbeaten Armada 2-0
By Official Florida FC
Tulsa Athletic has been there. The Jacksonville Armada are getting there.
That may have been the biggest difference in the two teams that competed for the NPSL South Region championship on Saturday night in Jacksonville.
Tulsa was playing in its third straight South Region Final. The Armada, who fielded a team of college students with an average age of 21, were enjoying their best season in their four-year run as members of the National Premier Soccer League.
The result? A 2-0 victory for the visitors.
Two goals in two minutes was enough to lift Tulsa to its second straight regional championship. Abou Diallo opened the scoring in the 70th minute after an Armada clearance deflected into his path and his arrowed the ball home. Before the Armada could rise themselves off the floor, Tulsa’s Titus Grant added a second goal in the 71st minute.
Jacksonville entered the match on a 15 game winning streak. The Armada had the best regular season record in the NPSL this summer, finishing 11-0-1. The club overcame deficits in two of its three NPSL playoff matches. But, Tulsa didn’t drive 20 hours to come away empty handed.
Jacksonville had two superb chances in the waning minutes to get back into the contest. Keegan Ancelin did everything right: found the space, made the run and beat his defender. Ancelin’s right-footed effort in the 82nd minute hit off the post and bounced elsewhere to the relief of the green and gold.
Later, forward Reed Davis hit a missile from 20 yards away. Tulsa goalkeeper Bryson Reed parried the ball over the crossbar for an Armada corner.
Jacksonville failed to score for the first time all summer. Tulsa head coach Levi Coleman attributed that to his team staying defensively focused for 90 minutes.
“We still weren’t comfortable when we got one and got two,” Coleman said. “It was just focusing on the defending. But, we knew instantly what gaps to hit when we did get out in transition.”