NEW ORLEANS—AFC Mobile earned its first point of the season after a 2-2 draw with reigning Gulf Coast Premier League champions CD Motagua of New Orleans. The Azaleas nearly ended their three-game road trip with a win, but Motagua headed in an equalizer deep into six minutes of stoppage time.
“We’ve got to do a better job clearing the ball, just winning headers and getting it out. It literally was the last second they scored a goal,” said AFC Mobile head coach Nate Nicholas. “I think we were playing into overtime even though we were winning. But, you’ve got to play as long as the referees are telling them to play on.”
It was a bright start for Mobile and for Chisom Ogbonna in particular. The forward had a chance early in the match after some fancy footwork in the box, but couldn’t get a shot off. Minutes later, Clairy Kengeye chipped the ball into the box to find Ogbonna, but his shot dragged just wide. In the 19th minute, Ogbonna was able to to find the back of the net after picking up a loose ball in the box and smashing it home to give AFC Mobile a 1-0 lead.
Motagua equalized just minutes before halftime. A Motagua player sent a floating header into the back of the net after a wild scramble in front of the goal to level the match 1-1.
The equalizer appeared to give Motagua a renewed sense of energy in the second half. AFC Mobile goalkeeper Brent Grube opened the second half with two big saves to keep the score tied 1-1. Motagua continued attacking, having the better of the run of play through most of the final half. The home team had another chance to take the lead, but AFC Mobile defender Markos Mallis cleared the ball off the line.
Despite a sustained attack from Motagua, Ogbonna artfully settled a 45 yard bomb sent by defender Dawson Jellenc and buried his second goal of the night, giving Mobile a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute. Ogbonna’s brace marked his third goal in two games, making him AFC Mobile’s leading scorer on the 2017 Summer campaign.
“Chisom Ogbonna scored two great goals… had another great game. He’s built two games in a row playing really really well,” Nicholas said.
Late in the match, Ogbonna attempted to get behind the Motagua defense but was taken down by Motagua’s Anthony Peters. The traveling fans urged the official to show Peters red, but he was only received a yellow card. The center referee also showed Ogbonna his second yellow card of the season, citing embellishment.
As time elapsed, Motagua continued to push for a second equalizer. The referee allowed over six minutes of added time to the dismay of the traveling fans from Mobile. In a last-ditch effort to equalize, Motagua sent its entire squad, including its goalkeeper, into the box for a throw-in near the corner. Motagua was able to convert on what would become the very last touch of the game, bringing the final score to 2-2.
AFC Mobile will look to build on its first ever point in the GCPL Eastern Conference table on Saturday, June 10th with a return home to the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex where AFC Mobile will take on Biloxi City FC.
“We’re excited about coming home playing at the Lip. It feels like it’s been a year since we played our first home game.” Nicholas said. “We need everybody to come out ’cause, I tell you what, it’s gonna be a show. We’re gonna get a win that night and it’s gonna be because the fans have got our back.”
Kickoff against Biloxi City FC is set for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 10th at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex off Michael Boulevard. It is also Military Appreciation Night. All veterans and active duty military personnel will be admitted free of charge with their military ID. As always, kids 12 and under get in free, and all other tickets are only $5. Click here to purchase your tickets today!