Category: 2019 GCPL Season

AFC Mobile Beats Hattiesburg​ FC 3-0 to Earn First Win of the 2019 GCPL Season

HATTIESBURG, MS – Led by a clean sheet from goalkeeper Domenic Nascimben and a dominant midfield performance from Arad Lev-Ari, Sam Blackburn, and Tilman Schober, AFC Mobile took home a 3-0 victory on the road against Hattiesburg FC.

With a drastically different lineup from the one that faced Tallahassee SC in the opening match of the GCPL season, AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek started a brand new backline with only Vlad Margolin returning to the starting lineup.

“There were some injuries and some players not available for selection, which kind of forced my hand a little bit,” said Wieczorek, “but I think it’s going to round out into the team that we see going forward anyway.”

The goalscoring began when Lev-Ari split the Hattiesburg defense in the thirteenth minute with a curved, driven pass to Tilman Schober. Schober took a squaring touch before curling the ball into the far top corner to put the Azaleas up 1-0 early.

In the 43rd minute, Lev-Ari combined with Blackburn and Iba Ndaw to open up the penalty area for Chisom Ogbonna. Ogbonna was brought down in the 18-yard box and calmly finished the ensuing penalty with a powerful, low shot to send the Azaleas to halftime leading 2-0.

Lev-Ari, who primarily played in a central attacking role for the first time with Mobile, earned praises from Wieczorek after the game.

“Iba and Chisom again looked a handful going forward and Tilman as well,” Wieczorek said. “Arad’s actual shift on the field, the ground that he covered, his effort – if anyone stands out it’s him.”

Hattiesburg FC had its best opportunity of the night in the 67th minute. After a stint of possession, Hattiesburg spread out an otherwise solid and compact Mobile backline to take an open shot on frame, which caused Nascimben to go full-stretch horizontally and deny the home team a goal with his fingertips.

Another opportunity for Hattiesburg came in the 71st minute when a lofted cross played into the box was intercepted by Nascimben, who was then kicked by a Hattiesburg attacker. The trainer was brought on as Nascimben lay on the ground for nearly five minutes before he was cleared by the trainer and play resumed.

The AFC Mobile backline proved difficult to break down and when Hattiesburg was able to press in Mobile’s defensive third, Nascimben was able to come through for the team.

“We kept a clean sheet away from home with a back five that’s not played together – ever,” Wieczorek said.

Late in the match, Lev-Ari combined with AFC Mobile debutant Mikey Conneh to send Schober through. Schober chipped the keeper one-on-one, but the Hattiesburg defense was able to track back and clear the line.

The Azaleas kept coming and Ndaw continued his three-match goal scoring streak after high-pressing midfielder Blackburn forced a Hattiesburg turnover just outside of the box. Blackburn poked the ball to Lev-Ari, who played Ndaw into a one-on-one situation with the Hattiesburg goalkeeper. Ndaw calmly finished to give Mobile a commanding 3-0 lead and, ultimately, the win.

“It was a hard game,” said Lev-Ari. “They are a quality team. We knew we wanted to get points from this game. The original plan was to see what we could do, what our ability is. But we outperformed. We did a really good job, got three points, and it is going to be huge going forward into the season.”

AFC Mobile will return home next week against their oldest rivals, Port City FC, in the first leg of the 2019 Forgotten Coast Cup. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex. Tickets are $10, and all kids 12 and under will be admitted free. This match is also our Military Appreciation Night where veterans and active duty military personnel will get in free with a valid ID.

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AFC Mobile 2019 Season Tickets on Sale Now

Season tickets for the 2019 AFC Mobile season are now on sale. Fans can purchase a season ticket wristband for $50. The wristband will admit entrance into all six Gulf Coast Premier League home games as well as any post-season games.

Fans can also purchase a wristband and t-shirt or scarf package for $65. This package comes with a season ticket wristband and your choice of either an official 2019 AFC Mobile scarf or the new AFC Mobile Battleship t-shirt.

Single-game tickets will rise from $5 to $10. To help offset the increase in ticket prices, AFC Mobile will provide free parking at all home games. Tickets for kids 12 and under will remain free.

AFC Mobile Announces 2019 GCPL Schedule

The 2019 AFC Mobile schedule is finally here! After months of anticipation, we now know the path the Azaleas will take as they attempt to bring home the Gulf Coast Premier League Cup. Join the excitement at Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium (“the Lip”) this summer and support your hometown team!

Following a few preseason friendly matches that will be announced soon, AFC Mobile and new head coach Steve Wieczorek will welcome GCPL newcomers Tallahassee SC to the Lip to kick off the regular season on Saturday, May 11th. The Battle Lions will be ready to hit the ground running in their inaugural GCPL fixture just one week after they host the UPSL’s Savannah Clovers in a friendly.

Continuing the trend of facing newcomers to the GCPL, the Azaleas will travel the short distance west to take on Hattiesburg FC on May 18th. A successful youth club since 1980, the Mississippi side will join AFC Mobile in the GCPL’s East Division this year.

Defending GCPL Champions Port City FC (Gulfport) will return to the site where they hoisted the GCPL Cup last summer when they face AFC Mobile at the Lip on May 25th in the first leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup.

One week after hosting the defending Champions, AFC Mobile will travel east on I-10 to face Pensacola FC on June 1st at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium, the site of the Azaleas’ unlikely come-from-behind victory last year that saw the Mobile side net three goals after the 82nd minute to steal three points in a 4-3 win.

The first half of AFC Mobile’s 2019 season will conclude at the Lip with a home match on June 8th against cross-bay rivals Gulf Coast Rangers FC. The Azaleas will look to avenge the gut-wrenching, controversial home loss to the Rangers last season.

The second half of the 2019 season will begin on the road at Tallahassee SC on June 15th, where the Azaleas will take on the Battle Lions on the campus of Florida State University.

The Azaleas will then play host to Hattiesburg FC on June 22nd, travel to Gulfport to take on Port City FC on June 29th, then return to the Lip for the final home game of the regular season against Pensacola FC on July 6th. AFC Mobile will play its final game of the 2019 regular season on July 13th when it “takes the Causeway” to face Gulf Coast Rangers FC in a match that could have huge playoff implications if the summer goes well for both clubs.

All home games are played at Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium (“the Lip”) located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile. Keep an eye on AFC Mobile’s social media pages over the coming weeks for updates on preseason friendlies and season ticket packages.