Preview: Minnesota, mired in its first three-game losing streak since 2013, holds the fourth and final playoff spot in the combined North American Soccer League standings. The Loons (10-10-6) sit just one point ahead of both Tampa Bay and Miami FC and three ahead of Carolina. Victories are worth three points and draws earn one point. Jacksonville has gone seven games without a victory, including a 0-0 draw at home against Minnesota.
New-look Armada: Minnesota defeated the Armada 2-0 during the spring season in a game that could have been more lopsided. But Loons midfielder Jamie Watson is leery of the improved Armada under Mark Lowery, named interim head coach Aug. 7. “He is a wonderful tactician,” Watson said. “He took over a team that was kind of all over the place and made them a team you don’t necessarily look forward to playing anymore.” Still, Jacksonville (3-12-11) has struggled. The Armada’s minus-16 goal differential is the NASL’s worst.
Numbers: Christian Ramirez leads the league with 15 goals. But Watson’s two goals in the past two games provided welcomed offense. “We all ride these waves where sometimes the goal seems 30 feet wide and other times it seems 30 inches wide,” said Watson, who watched from the bench much of the season. “I’ve found myself in a good run right now and I want to keep it going.”
david la vaque