THE UNION lost its preseason opener, 3-1, to host Jacksonville Armada FC on Saturday night.

Andrew Wenger scored the only goal for the Union, with an assist from Sheanon Williams.

"I thought Andrew Wenger had a really strong performance," Union coach Jim Curtin said. "A couple of the younger guys were up to the task. You learn a lot in games. You can play 5 vs. 5 and 8 vs. 8 and look good in training, but when the lights get bright, the game gets a lot faster - it's about 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."

The Union is training in Florida in preparation for its March 7 MLS season opener at PPL Park against the Colorado Rapids. Saturday's preseason game drew 13,934 fans at EverBank Field, home of the NFL's Jaguars. It was the Armada's first-ever home game.

"It was our first preseason match, we played 30 guys," 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.''