Category: Game Preview

AFC Mobile starts second-half of the season in Tallahassee with playoff positioning in mind

After a tough loss last week, AFC Mobile dropped to third place in the GCPL East standings (3-1-1, 10 points) and are looking to rebound against Tallahassee SC (3-1-1, 10 points). The Battle Lions of Tallahassee are 2nd in GCPL East by virtue of the second tiebreaker, goal differential, which is one better than AFC Mobile’s entering Saturday’s match.

All-time series: Tallahassee SC and AFC Mobile ended their first-ever match in a 2-2 draw on a rain-soaked pitch in Mobile on the season’s first matchday. Mobile’s Ibrahima Ndaw opened the scoring early, but a long-range chip by Tallahassee’s Sy Fontenot equalized for the visitors. Late in the match, Tallahassee SC’s Peter Love scored a free kick from distance to take the lead before a last-gasp header by Mobile’s Chisom Ogbonna pulled out the equalizer in the second minute of added time.

Tallahassee SC Players to Watch: Tallahassee has proven early on that they belong in this league. While much of that is due to their organized defense, there is also the midfield magic of Boneco Bazil and Daniel Villa who each have 2 goals, with Bazil also contributing 2 assists. Villa’s contributions, however, cannot be noted solely on the boxscore. A player at University of South Florida, Villa’s leadership in the middle, hard-nosed tackles, and secondary passing to open space have helped the Battle Lions enter the second half of the season with a playoff position well within their grasp.

With 2 goals and 2 assists plus opportunities created, Tallahasse SC’s Boneco Bazil has had an outstanding debut in the GCPL

Matchup to Watch: Goalkeeper Hugo Castro Rodrigues is a monster in between the pipes for Tallahassee. In the season opener, the Mobile attack was best held in check by the man known affectionately in Tallahassee as “Peruzzi.” Peruzzi was able to make more than a few acrobatic saves at point blank range with Mobile’s attack bearing down on him. It was Peruzzi’s quick thinking that caught a pushed up Mobile attack and ended up getting an assist on the Fontenot goal. Since that first game against Tallahassee, Mobile has gone on to score 3 or more goals in every match, while Tallahassee has only given up 2 goals once more.

Why this is a big deal? With both of these clubs drawing earlier and only having losses to the Gulf Coast Rangers, it is all about the playoffs stepping into the second half of the season. A win for either team vaults the victor into playoff position with a definitive head-to-head tiebreak and four matches to play.

AFC Mobile plays Tallahassee SC at the Florida State University Main Campus Fields, 1001 St Augustine St, Tallahassee, Florida. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. CDT (8 p.m. EDT). Tickets are $7 and kids 12 and under are admitted for free.

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AFC Mobile hosts Eastern Shore neighbors in top-of-the-table clash

AFC Mobile, the current GCPL East leaders, (3-1-0, 10 points) will look to build on its fast start to the season on Saturday when it hosts Gulf Coast Rangers (2-2-0, 8 points) who are coming off a disappointing 0-0 midweek draw with Port City FC.

All-time series: In the first year of this fixture, Gulf Coast Rangers won both legs, 2-0. At the Lip, a controversial call erased an apparent goal from Mobile’s Abdal Al-Mutairi and Rangers’ Nathan Gillespie, a former AFC Mobile man, scored the second goal into an open net after Mobile pulled its keeper into the Rangers’ box for a late corner. In the Baldwin County leg, Mobile played toe-to-toe with the Rangers and had what would have been the go-ahead goal disallowed again when Martin Fiemwhale was ruled offside. Two second-half goals completed the double for the Rangers, who went on to a second-place finish in the GCPL East.

The Gulf Coast Ranger’s Players to Watch: The Gulf Coast Rangers feature several familiar faces to AFC Mobile fans: Brantton Greene, a former AFC Mobile left back with lightning quick speed up the flanks in both the attack and defense, and Barou Ndaw, former AFC Mobile goalkeeper and brother of AFC Mobile’s current leading goalscorer Ibrahima Ndaw, minding the nets. The Rangers also boast a strong midfield led by Cameron Cranton, an attacking midfielder who leads the charge for the Rangers with incisive passing and Matt McArthur, a hard-nosed, experienced defensive midfielder who poses a threat from set pieces. Leading the line is last year’s GCPL Eastern Conference MVP Yan Livenu, who stretches defenses with his off-ball movement.

The Gulf Coast Rangers forward Yan Livenu is one of the most dangerous attackers in the Gulf Coast Premier League and will be one to watch during the Rangers’ attack.

Matchup to Watch: The key matchup to watch will undoubtedly be Livenu’s duel with AFC Mobile’s Vlad Margolin. Margolin has proved solid in defense for the Azaleas through four games this season, quieting current golden boot leader Mikey Lightbourne of Pensacola in addition to Port City’s dangerous pair of Michael Cooper and Jordan Hall. Livenu’s technical skill and deep runs will pose a different threat for Margolin, Zubair Taylor, goalkeeper Domenic Nascimben, and the rest of the Mobile backline.

Why this is a big deal? These are two clubs looking to top one another in the standings and on the pitch. They are the last two undefeated teams in the Eastern Conference, and with a win, would top the league-wide GCPL standings. A win for Mobile would cement the upstart Azaleas as the real deal and the team to beat going into the second half of the season, providing a serious boost to the team’s push for its first-ever playoff place.

AFC Mobile hosts the Gulf Coast Rangers at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex, 3610 Michael Boulevard, Mobile, Alabama. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and kids 12 and under are admitted for free.

Getting to Know You: Cajun Soccer Club

This weekend, AFC Mobile will travel to Lafayette, Louisiana for a cross-conference matchup against the Cajun Soccer Club. Awaiting them there will be one of the most consistently dominant sides in the GCPL. Coming off a 1-1 draw against Boca Knights at LUS Fiber Stadium, CSC will attempt to earn all three points in its second home match of the season. Meanwhile, AFC Mobile, following an offensive firestorm in a 4-3 loss to Pensacola FC, will be looking to steal some points in one of the toughest places to play in the GCPL.

CLUB: Cajun Soccer Club

NICKNAME: CSC

Cajun Soccer Club pulled off what had never been done in the GCPL before, when it became the first team to knock CD Motagua of New Orleans out of the playoffs. It held tight in the GCPL Cup Championship Game, but ultimately finished as league runner-up in a bitterly contested 1-0 loss to Gaffa FC.

Now the team has reloaded bringing back much of the cast from last season to try to get over that final hurdle and clinch their first GCPL Cup….

PLAYERS TO WATCH: CSC has a plethora of attacking options to choose from, but the man that the offense runs through is Mickey Ledger. Ledger, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines international, has played in senior team competitions against the USMNT. Last year, he was perhaps the top attacker in the GCPL and won its Golden Boot. This year he will be joined by former Honduran U23 Erick Medina at left back. Medina has international experience and will bring not only a toughness but a sense of calm awareness to the CSC defense and attack

The club can be found on Facebook at @CajunSoccerClubMensTeam and Twitter at @CajunSoccerClub.

Getting to Know You: Pensacola FC

The preseason has officially ended and Gulf Coast Premier League action begins this weekend! AFC Mobile’s first opportunity to test its merit in regular season GCPL action will be this Saturday, May 12th, against Pensacola FC. Pensacola FC considers itself “The People’s Club” and has a strong group of former University of West Florida alumni at its disposal. Last year, AFC Mobile lost to them at The Lip before pulling off a stunning draw at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium in Pensacola. This year, both teams have reloaded, Pensacola FC has rebranded, and round two could be fascinating.

CLUB: Pensacola FC

NICKNAME: The 59ers

Last year was Pensacola FC’s debut year in the Gulf Coast Premier League. In that opening salvo, they took on the moniker of “Gulf Coast Texans” after the Pensacola-based youth club where several of the players either coached or started playing. For the 2018 season, they have rebranded to better represent the City of Pensacola by taking on the new name “Pensacola FC,” which was the youth club’s name prior to becoming an affiliate of the Dallas Texans youth club.

In their debut season, Pensacola FC found themselves relatively successful, finishing the season with a 6-1-3 record. It came down to the last Wednesday of the regular season when Biloxi City held the 59ers’ fate in their hand. If Biloxi had drawn with or beaten Gaffa FC, PFC would have qualified for the playoffs, but Gaffa won and Pensacola was sent home without tasting the playoffs in their inaugural year.

With many of the same players back this year and Nolan Intermoia taking over coaching duties from Nick Cardosa, the club is hoping to continue their success from last season and make that final push into an expanded playoff field.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: The 59ers have studs on both sides of the pitch including a few younger UWF graduates. However, it is the work of Lafayette-native Dillon Gallet that spectators will want to watch. Gallet was an All-GCPL East selection and finished tied for fifth place in the Golden Boot race. He may be one of the fastest players in the GCPL and will prove a matchup headache all night for any team. Defensively, Chance Chancellor was also an All-GCPL East selection. He has taken on player-coaching duties this year, but will make sure that his defensive line will again be one of the best in the GCPL.

The club can be found on Facebook at @pensacolafc1559 and Twitter at @PensacolaFC.

Tickets to Saturday’s game are just $5 each, and all kids 12 and under will be admitted free of charge. This Saturday is Teacher Appreciation Night! All school employees with a valid school ID will be admitted at no charge! All AFC Mobile home games are played at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile.