Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Comeback Caps 'Perfect' Finale; Steinberger Sets Up 2 Goals, Scores Winner Late

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Comeback Caps 'Perfect' Finale; Steinberger Sets Up 2 Goals, Scores Winner Late

Article excerpt

Byline: Clayton Freeman

Zach Steinberger made his Jacksonville Armada farewell one to remember.

In his final game in Jacksonville, the young midfielder assisted on two goals and scored the game-winner, leading the Armada to a 3-2 comeback win against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the North American Soccer League season finale at the Baseball Grounds.

"I don't know what it is about this place, man," Steinberger said. "It breeds incredible games."

Steinberger, on a half-season loan from Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo, returns to Texas next week.

But after Sunday afternoon, when he set up goals for Alhassane Keita and Jemal Johnson and scored the 84th-minute winner, Armada fans have three more reasons to remember his four months in town.

"He's been tremendous," Armada coach Mark Lowry said. "He comes in halfway through the season, which is never easy for anybody, scores in his first game ... and from there, his quality and what he brings to the team has really shone through."

Steinberger ended his Armada career the same way he started it - with a tiebreaking goal against the Rowdies.

The Armada had never come back to win from 2-0 down and had never scored twice in a minute. Those days are gone.

Lowry said he expected Sunday's season finale match to be "more entertaining," and he was right.

Yet despite an overwhelming possession advantage of 66 percent, the Armada didn't begin well on the scoreboard.

In the fourth minute, Danish midfielder Martin Vingaard spotted Jacksonville keeper Miguel Gallardo too far from his goal line, and punished him with a 40-yard laser to put the Rowdies (5-9-8) ahead.

Then, 15 minutes later, Tampa Bay's Michael Nanchoff crossed in a free kick and Keith Savage met the ball with a looping header that dipped over Gallardo.

"We sat on the bench and we were just shaking our heads, like, 'I can't believe this. This is the best soccer we've played all season, probably the most one-sided half I've seen all season, and we find ourselves down,'" Lowry said. …

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