Category: 2022 NPSL Season

AFC Mobile Defeats Tallahassee SC 6-2

AFC Mobile finished their second NPSL season with a thrilling 6-2 win over Tallahassee Soccer Club on Saturday night in Mobile.  Forward Ronaldo Fortune scored half of Mobile’s goals on the night, netting the first hat trick for the club in the NPSL.

The visitors opened the scoring in the second minute of the match when Sy Fontenot slotted home a low-rolling shot off a quick restart after a foul outside the penalty area.  The Azaleas equalized five minutes later in the ninth minute after a long ball from the backfield that found the feet of Fortune, who scored his first of the night.  

The Azaleas doubled their tally in the 13th minute after a charging Jose Reis played a low-rolling rocket of a cross that was turned into the net by Chris Salamatou.

Fortune doubled his tally on the night after picking up a Tallahassee giveaway in the 37th minute.  In the 42nd minute, the referee showed Eddie Dakwa a straight red card for the denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity for Tallahassee.  The Azaleas went into the locker room at halftime up 3-1 but down to 10 men. 

Shortly after the start of the second half, Tallahassee won the ball in midfield and strung together a few passes that found the feet of Sy Fontenot, who scored his second goal of the night, cutting Mobile’s lead to one.  The Azaleas scored their fourth goal in the 67th minute after a long ball from Mobile keeper Will Blake was headed into the feet of Salamatou who scored his second goal of the match, bringing the score to 4-2.  

Fortune completed his hat trick in the 88th minute.  Mobile’s Iba Ndaw, who in Wednesday night’s game in Pensacola tied Chisom Ogbonna for the most goals in the club’s history, stepped up to take a free kick from a few yards outside of the box.  Ndaw’s shot was saved, but Fortune slotted home the rebound to bring the score to 5-2. 

“We haven’t had the greatest season,” Fortune said. “We’ve faced a lot of adversity, and today was just the boys coming out and putting on a big performance for the people that have stuck with us this whole season.  And yeah, I scored three goals, but the most important thing was playing our last game together, playing for the badge, playing for AFC Mobile, and honestly playing for Mobile in general.”

Mobile scored their sixth and final goal of the night in the 93rd minute when Edy Gael played the ball to Fortune down the right wing.  Fortune sent the ball into the box to find Gael who slotted the ball home.  Minutes later, the referee blew the whistle, and the match ended 6-2. 

AFC Mobile finished the season in fifth place, just outside of the Gulf Coast Conference playoff spots with 13 points. 

AFC Mobile Falls 1-2 to Pensacola FC

AFC Mobile’s playoff dreams have officially come to an end after falling 2-1 to Pensacola FC at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex on Wednesday night.

The Azaleas opened the scoring in the 36th minute when Diego Candía played a long ball to Jose Reis, booming down the right wing.  Reis attempted to send the ball into Chris Salamatou, but Reis’ ball was deflected by a Pensacola defender.  Iba Ndaw struck the deflected ball at the top of the penalty area and rocketed the ball into the back of the net, giving the Azaleas a 1-0 lead. The goal was Ndaw’s 21st for the Azaleas, tying him with Chisom Ogbonna on the club’s all-time goalscoring list. 

“Being from here, I’m very proud to have played for this club,” Ndaw said, “I’m happy to be a small part of the history.  I’m really glad to have tied the record and gone down with a club legend like Chisom Ogbonna.  It’s always been a great time playing here in front of our amazing fans.” 

Pensacola FC did not trail for long.  In the 41st minute, Mobile’s Salia Carr was shown a yellow card after bringing down a Pensacola player inside the penalty area on a Mobile counterattack. Mikey Lightbourne stepped up and slotted home the penalty for the visitors, leveling the score at 1-1. 

After feeling some soreness during halftime, Mobile’s goalkeeper Gui Altoé came off for Will Blake to start the second half.  The match saw few chances for either side in the second half. Pensacola took the lead in the 70th minute after a quick counterattack from Pensacola resulted in a goal from Anthony Ciccarello. 

The 2-1 loss cements the playoff positions in the NPSL’s Gulf Coast Conference with Jacksonville Armada FC U23 and Southern States Soccer Club hosting first-round matches after finishing first and second.  The New Orleans Jesters finished in third place and will travel to Hattiesburg to take on Southern States while Pensacola will travel to Jacksonville to take on the top-seeded Armada.  AFC Mobile will close the season at home this Saturday night against Tallahassee Soccer Club. 

AFC Mobile Takes a 1-4 Loss Against Southern States SC

AFC Mobile traveled to Oak Grove, Mississippi to face a red hot Southern States SC team, taking their just their second loss in five games, and ending their 3 game unbeaten streak Wednesday evening. 

The game opened in light rain which continued for most of the game, making the grass wet on top with the ball skipping on the surface even though conditions underfoot were near perfect. 

Both the Azaleas and Stars proceeded to play progressive soccer.  During the first 20 minutes the Oak Grove outfit had the better of possession as Mobile found it difficult to pass through the center of the Stars’ defensive lines.

The Stars produced a few long-range efforts that troubled Mobile goalkeeper Will Blake and eventually one of those efforts was rebounded off Blake, who after making a diving save, parried the ball into the center of the goal for a completely free Clayton Adams to score into open net.  This would give the Stars the lead. The half ended with little incident as both the Stars and Azaleas toiled to create scoring chances.

The Stars started the second half on the front foot with several attacking excursions into Mobile territory coming up short.  The visitors were struggling to impress in the opening minutes. 

In the 54th minute, Stars head coach Carl Reynolds was ejected from the game on a second yellow card. 

Mobile leveled the score at 1-1 within three minutes of the ejection.  The Stars failed to cut out a right-wing cross, and Christopher Salamatou rose to head home at the far post. 

The intensity of the game certainly rose as the Azaleas gained confidence and the crowd started to engage.  Four minutes later, in almost identical fashion to the Mobile goal, Sheldon Green headed home Manu Ferriol’s assist to restore his team’s lead at 2-1.  In the 67th minute the visitors found themselves behind 3-1 as a high ball from the left, off Green, evaded Blake and dropped behind him into the net. 

The Stars never lost control of the game after that and continued to blunt the Mobile attacks while creating more chances of their own.  It was inevitable that there would be several substitutions which only proceeded to break up the continuity of the game.

However, the Stars managed to help themselves to one more goal and put an exclamation point on the score when Green swept the ball home in the 82nd minute.  For Green it was a second-half hat trick.

“I don’t think the scoreline fully reflects the full game,” said Mobile assistant coach Desmond Ibie. “We had opportunities, but the finishing was just slightly off. Southern States is one of the premier teams in our conference and credit to them for taking full advantage of the situation, particularly after their coach was sent off. All we can do now is look towards Jacksonville and keep ourselves in the playoff hunt.”

Southern States SC improved to 8-2-0 on a six-game winning streak while AFC Mobile dropped to 3-5-1.  The Stars secured their grip on second place in the conference but need help if they are to overcome leaders Jacksonville Armada FC U-23.  New Orleans, Pensacola FC, Mobile, and the Florida Roots are now competing for the two other playoff spots.

AFC Mobile Secures a 2-0 Win Over Florida Roots FC

AFC Mobile began its four game road trip in Panama City, Florida’s Tommy Oliver Stadium against Florida Roots FC last night. With a 1-1-1 record over their last three and a game remaining in hand, AFC Mobile was still in control of its Gulf Coast Conference playoff destiny.

Mobile’s first chance came early when in the 2nd minute a defense-splitting pass from Lucas Ros found a streaking Salia Carr who went just barely wide of the goal. The match continued without any real opportunities. Though the Roots did have a few chances from deep as a back three of Elliot Dymond, Thierry Zabarel, and Sean Morfin protected Mobile goalkeeper Will Blake from facing much inside of their penalty area.

In the 17th minute, Mobile was able to break through when Ronaldo Fortune found Carr bombing forward down the left flank. Carr beat two Roots defenders before sending in a low-rolling, grounded cross to Alex Lozano who buried his shot to put the Azaleas up 1-0. This would be a lead that they would not relinquish.

Florida began mounting more pressure as Jose Reis and Carr joined the back three taking a more defensive stance to combat the Roots ability to keep the Azaleas pinned back until the 34th minute. Following a series of opportunistic Roots’ chances, Lozano received a defensive clearance from Morfin. Lozano then headed the ball to a racing Fortune, who played back an open Lozano, powering a rocket into the back of the net for his second goal, giving Mobile the 2-0 lead.

The second half brought an onslaught of Roots chances. In the 79th minute, Florida had their best chance after Mobile’s Edy Gael fouled a Roots player at the top of the penalty area. The ensuing free kick went under the wall and caused Mobile’s Blake to go full stretch to the far post in order to hold onto the ball and his first clean sheet of the season.

“This was a quality win against a good opponent,” said interim manager Brent Grube. “With players out due to suspensions and injuries, we needed some of the younger guys to step up. We got great performances from them and great work from our veteran core. We are excited about heading to Tallahassee to take on a solid side. Their fan base makes Gene Cox an absolutely electric place to play.”

AFC Mobile’s record improves to 2 wins, 1 draw, and 4 losses, having only one loss in their last 4 matches. Mobile continues their road trip heading further east to Tallahassee to take on Tallahassee Soccer Club on Saturday, then to Oak Grove, MS where they will play Southern States SC on June 29th, finally wrapping up to face current conference leading Jacksonville Armada in Jacksonville on July 2nd. Mobile will conclude their regular season with a two game home stand, starting on July 6th with a match against Pensacola and concluding on July 9th at the Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium against Tallahassee SC.

AFC Mobile Falls To Southern States 2-1

Photo: Riley Ferrer/Ruby Media

Southern States Soccer Club scored twice in five minutes to beat AFC Mobile 2-1 on Saturday night. 

“I don’t think that the way the game went was really indicative of who we are and how well we played,” AFC Mobile interim manager Brent Grube said. “The second half got away from us, and we need to make sure we do a little better job of managing that.” 

The Stars held much of the early possession but could not translate control into chances. The Azaleas’ first serious opportunity came in the 25th minute on a free-kick. Ronaldo Fortune sent the ball in from the right. Alex Lozano got past the defense and on the end of the ball, but his shot sailed over the crossbar. The teams went into halftime level at 0-0. 

The Azaleas had an attack early in the second half when Ronaldo Fortune played the ball to Chris Salamatou on the counter-attack, but Salamatou could not get a shot off. Mobile keeper Gui Altoé came up with a big save in the 56th minute to keep the match level.

Fortune gave Mobile the lead in the 62nd minute after booming down the right-wing on a counterattack and slotting a low-rolling rocket of a shot into the far corner of the net. 

“We finally got him to start shooting a little bit quicker. He’s getting into the spaces a little bit better, and we’re able to get him the ball in more dangerous places,” Grube said of the Mobile forward, who has now scored three goals in three games.

The Stars equalized in the 73rd minute after a free-kick from their half was played into the box. The Azaleas attempted but could not clear the ball, which fell to the feet of the Stars’ Mason Walsh on the right side of the box. Walsh played the ball into the box, and it was headed in by the Stars’ substitute Samuel Dadzie.  Dadzie slotted home the winner in the 77th minute after a low-rolling cross from Walsh found its way through the AFC Mobile defense.  

The Azaleas finished the match with nine men, with Diego Candía receiving a red card in the 80th minute. Late into stoppage time, Mobile substitute Iba Ndaw saw a second yellow. 

AFC Mobile is heading to the Sunshine State to take on Florida Roots FC in Panama City on Thursday night and Tallahassee to take on Tallahassee Soccer Club next Saturday. Southern States will head to the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Jesters next Saturday. 

2-2 Draw for AFC Mobile and New Orleans Jesters

After a midweek win against Pensacola FC on Wednesday, AFC Mobile drew the New Orleans Jesters 2-2 in Mobile on Saturday night.  

“It’s always frustrating to be ahead at home with the fans fully behind you and then come out with a draw,” AFC Mobile forward Ronaldo Fortune said.

The Azaleas were on the defense early in the first half when goalkeeper Gui Altoé made a brilliant double save in the first minute of the match.  The Azaleas responded in the 10th minute when Jose Reis played the ball in from the right wing to Alex Lozano, but Lozano’s header sailed over the crossbar.  Two minutes later, Lozano played the ball in from the left-wing to Ronaldo Fortune, but Fortune’s low-rolling shot went wide right of the goal.  Much of the rest of the first half was an even contest with few threatening chances for either side.  

The Azaleas took the lead late in the first half.  Mobile’s Chris Salamatou was taken down from behind by New Orleans’ Mason Morise.  This set up a free kick from outside the box that was blasted into the back of the net by Fortune. 

The Jesters equalized in the 49th minute on a Maxi Galizzi goal.  The Azaleas followed with a flurry of chances around the half-hour mark when Jackson Wheatley quick take from just outside the penalty area skimmed over the top of the crossbar.  Minutes later, Fortune’s grounded shot went just wide. 

The Azaleas retook the lead in the 71st minute when a diagonal ball was played to Salamatou who drilled a shot that went far post and found the back of the net.

The Jesters responded eight minutes later when Floris van Nijnanten hit a rocket of a shot from outside the box to tie the match at 2-2.

“It took them hitting a wonder strike to tie it up, can’t do a whole lot against that, but we’re just going to push on and play good soccer,” AFC Mobile caretaker manager Brent Grube said, “That’s all we can do.”

The Azaleas had one more chance in the 93rd minute when Lucas Ros connected to Ibrahima Ndaw, who back heeled a pass to Fortune leaving him one-on-one just on the edge of the 6-yard box, Fortune’s powerful, first-time shot was kept out by a superb save from the Jesters’ Lamoy Graham. 

The Jesters remain in third place in the Gulf Coast Conference with 10 points, while AFC Mobile finds themselves in sixth place with four points.  The Jesters will play Pensacola FC this Wednesday.  The Azaleas return to action at home next Saturday against Southern States Soccer Club. 

AFC Mobile Defeats Pensacola 2-0

Pensacola FC hosted AFC Mobile in a NPSL Gulf Conference clash on Wednesday at the Foley Sports Tourism Championship Stadium in Foley, Alabama.  The game started with both teams cautiously testing each other as they each were coming off losses in their previous match.

Pensacola had the earliest chance to take the lead in the 10th minute when a great sequence of passing allowed Pensacola’s Prince Owusu to get in behind the Mobile backline. Owusu floated a beautifully weighted cross to a wide-open James Morrissey who had an empty net at his mercy but managed to hit wide from three yards out.  That miss seemed to wake up the Azaleas who were looking for their first points of the season

Mobile broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute after some good interchanging passing saw Alex Lozano in on goal with only Pensacola goalkeeper Mark McMillan to beat.  Lozano placed a beautifully struck ball to the left hand corner of McMillan.  That goal seemed to spark some life into the Azaleas as they started growing in confidence.  Pensacola was struggling to get anything going in their attacking third and couldn’t find that final pass to create a goalscoring chance.  Things seemed to have settled a bit in the game as both teams were trying to retain possession of the ball.

Pensacola was starting to see a bit more of the possession, but a clumsy giveaway  in the 32nd minute just outside the 18-yard box by Pensacola’s Lorenzo Pereira-Weber saw the ball land directly at the feet of Mobile’s Ronaldo Fortune. 

Fortune then placed a powerfully low shot to the bottom right hand corner of Pensacola’s goal.  That gave the Azaleas a 2-0 lead and put them on course for their first victory over Pensacola FC since the 2019 GCPL season.  As both teams entered the locker rooms for halftime, Mobile would have felt that they deserved to be on top and would come out looking for more goals in the second half.

With Pensacola down by two goals, they came out from the break blazing.  Just as the first half ended, the Pelicans began controlling the lion’s share of the possession, but just could not find a goal to cut into the deficit. 

Then in the 47th minute Mobile’s Tate Richards was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Pensacola’s Azahrias Ali.  Pensacola head coach Dean Logan introduced Michael Lightbourne, who was nursing a slight injury, to help them get that goal and cut the scoreline in half.

With a man down, Mobile sat back more defensively subbing of Jackson Wheatley for Edward Dakwa. The Azaleas sat deep in their half, looking to hit Pensacola on the counter attack as the Pelicans pushed players higher up the field.  The game grew more frustrating for Pensacola as they came close on a couple of occasions.  Chances fell to Jayce Dotson and Jarred Dass but they just couldn’t find the back of the net.  Christopher Salamatou caused the best second half opportunity for Mobile in the 83rd minute following with some fancy footwork, only to be denied by McMillan in the Pensacola goal.

As the final whistle blew, the Azaleas recorded their first victory of the season. 

]Logan shared his thoughts on the game. 

“Credit to Mobile,” Logan said. “They came in seeking their first points of the season, and they were clinical in the final third.  We just couldn’t put away our chances which in the end was not favorable to us.”