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Previewing the competition for 2015: Jacksonville Armada FC

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Armada have yet to play a single match in the North American Soccer League, but already, it's easy to see that the club have lofty ambitions. The club has set their sights on breaking the NASL attendance record in their debut match, and given the crowd on hand for their first preseason friendly, it's certainly not unthinkable that it could happen.

As a club, the Armada have looked both ambitious and well organized since day one, something that can't be said for the two group's originally expected to be joining in 2016. While we'll certainly be keeping an eye on how the Armada fare off the pitch, how they do on the field is another matter entirely.

The Florida club will be coached by Jose Luis Villarreal, and judging by the personnel that they've assembled, it looks like they'll be attempting to play some very fast, counter attacking football. That approach was very much on display when they defeated the Philadelphia Union in their first home preseason match, an end to end affair that the home side eventually won 1-0. One major cause for concern with the Armada could be a propensity to turn the ball over due to a lack of understanding worth one another, an issue which was very much on display for much of the preseason.

The squad in Jacksonville isn't exactly star studded, but there's at east one name Cosmos fans should be very familiar with. Jemal Johnson had been with the New York club for both the 2013 and 2014 campaigns, and while he was injured for most of the title-winning season, he saw a ton of minutes in Gio Savarese's 2014 rotation.

Notable additions: Jemal Johnson (NY Cosmos), Lucas Rodriguez (Minnesota United), Marcos Flores (Newcastle Jets), Alhassane Keita (St. Gallen), Lucas Scaglia (Rijeka), Miguel Gallardo (Orlando City), Lucas Trejo (Atletico Central Cordoba), Fabricio Ortiz (Club Atletico Alumni), Jordan Gafa (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Akeil Barrett (Orlando City)

Key departures: N/A

2015 outlook: It's always hard to know what to expect from expansion sides, but if the preseason is any indicator, consistency and cohesion could be a major issue early on for the Armada. I fully expect the club to finish at or near the bottom of the NASL spring table, but improvement in the second half of the season wouldn't be surprising at all. At the end of the year, I think we'll see a club sitting close to the bottom of the table, but very, very close to the top in terms of attendance.