Category: Game Recap

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.”

AFC Mobile Falls to Florida Roots in Home Opener

Despite a strong performance, AFC Mobile lost 2-1 to Florida Roots on Saturday night in their first home match of the 2022 National Premier Soccer League season. 

“I’m really proud of the players. They performed. They gave everything they could. We were ball-dominant, especially in the second half,” AFC Mobile Manager Steve Wieczorek said. “But it’s hard when you give up an early goal and you’re constantly chasing the game. Similar script to our first game. We created more chances, but the same result kind of in the same way, which is tough.” 

Florida Roots opened the scoring in the second minute of the match when AFC Mobile gave the ball away in the midfield and Richard Bushmeister fired a long-range effort that beat Will Blake into the Mobile goal. Despite the rough start, the Azaleas were dominant for much of the first half, having the majority of possession and chances for the remainder of the half. The Azaleas came out in the second half just as strong with chances from Tate Richards, Lucas Ros, and Ronaldo Fortune in the first fifteen minutes.

The Azaleas equalized in the 70th minute after sustained build-up play from the midfield. Mobile’s Alex Lozano played a short pass to Lucas Ros. Ros sent the ball straight back to Lozano who threaded the Roots defense and slotted home the equalizer.

Roots scored the winner in the 82nd minute off of a corner kick. The Roots players formed a huddle at the top of the penalty area and then attacked the box and headed in the winner. 

Florida Roots move to 2-2-0 on the season. They will take on Tallahassee SC on Saturday, May 28th. AFC Mobile moves to 0-2-0 on the year. The Azaleas will return to the pitch on Wednesday night to host Pensacola FC in Mobile. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex 3610 Michael Blvd, Mobile, AL 36609. Tickets are $10 and as always kids 12 and under are admitted for free. Wednesday is also our annual Military Appreciation Night! All former and active-duty military personnel are admitted for free with a valid ID.

Goals from Deminguet and Ndaw Give AFC Mobile 1-0 Victory Over Florida Roots

Photo Credit: Seth Laubinger

AFC Mobile returned to winning ways in Panama City with a 2-1 victory of Florida Roots Futbol Club

The Azaleas created several chances in the first half, with Iba Ndaw and Ronaldo Fortune nearly finding the back of the net. However, Roots goalkeeper Zach Moenter put on a stellar goalkeeping display to keep the score level at 0-0, heading into halftime.

“In the first half, we competed. Did we execute the tactics we wanted against them? I don’t think so. No, to the level I was hoping for. We still created opportunities. We should have been one up at halftime.” AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek said.

The start of the second half saw Mobile’s Soane Deminguet and Jackson Wheatley enter the match. This was the first game back for both players after dealing with injury troubles. Both substitutes immediately made their presence known by performing a nice bit of linkup play, but Roots easily cleared their chance.

Deminguet opened the scoring in the 57th minute after Eddie Dakwa played a long diagonal ball to Ronaldo Fortune. Fortune slipped the ball to Deminguet and ripped a shot from outside the box and past Moenter to give the Azaleas a 1-0 lead.

“We (Deminguet and Fortune) have a pretty good connection together. We try to connect together. He saw a little pocket, so he put it to me. On my first touch, I saw a defender coming right at me, so I put my position forward and felt like I had to shoot.” Deminguet said.

The Azaleas doubled their tally in the 72nd minute when goalkeeper Salvador Plaza played a long ball the bounced right in front of Iba Ndaw, who slotted the ball home.

Florida Roots was able to get one goal back in the 78th minute. Mobile’s Salia Carr was called for a handball in the box, and Liam Kearns put the ball past Plaza. However, it was too late to make a difference, and the Azaleas brought back a 2-1 win to Mobile.

AFC Mobile Draws New Orleans Jesters 1-1

Photo Credit: Michael Shartava

AFC Mobile drew the New Orleans Jesters 1-1 on Saturday night at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex to remain unbeaten at home in the 2021 season.

“The Jesters are a tried and true NPSL club. So the positives – we’ve played them twice, we’ve got two draws. They were competitive games, we’re evenly matched. Maybe they had a little bit more of it today, but again we’ve had enough chances to win games and win this game tonight. So I’m proud of the guys’ effort,” AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek said. 

It was an even affair in the first twenty minutes of the match with few scoring opportunities for both sides. Mobile’s Ronaldo Fortune provided a spark for the home side when goalkeeper Will Blake played a long ball out of his own box, finding the feet of Fortune in behind the New Orleans defense. Fortune was taken down in the box and the home fans clamored for a penalty, but it was not given. The Azaleas opened the scoring in the 20th minute thanks to some fantastic combination play between Fortune and midfielder Soane Deminguet. Fortune played the ball to Deminguet, who dribbled down the left wing and sent an arching cross back to Fortune at the top of the box. Fortune chested the ball down and struck it with his first touch, sending it soaring over New Orleans’ keeper Lemoy Graham and into the back of the net. 

“Credit to Soane, it was beautiful play leading up to the goal,” Fortune said. “To be fair, he played the ball to my chest and I had a good touch and I didn’t have enough time to dribble or anything, so I just thought ‘you know what? The coaches always tell me to shoot, so why not shoot.’”

Much of the first half saw New Orleans pressing hard to equalize, forcing Mobile’s goalkeeper to make a few spectacular saves to keep the home team’s lead. However, Blake was beaten in the 45th minute when New Orleans’ Sheldon Green sweetly struck a ball at the top of the box and into the Mobile net, making the match 1-1 at the half. 

It was a defensive struggle to start the second half with both teams finding space and scoring opportunities hard to come by. Mobile saw a few chances near the end of the half when Fortune played a slick, low-rolling cross to Iba Ndaw. Ndaw tried to find Fortune to complete the one-two, but the ball was easily cleared by the Jesters. Late in the match, Mobile’s Blake Palmquist was tightly marked and his shot soared over the crossbar. 

The 1-1 draw keeps Mobile in fourth place in the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference standings. The Azaleas will play two home matches this week, welcome the second-place Southern States this Wednesday, and Pensacola FC on Saturday night. New South Alabama head football coach Kane Wommack will join us to do the opening coin toss on Wednesday night. Next Saturday night will be our annual Military Appreciation Night where military personnel are admitted for free with a valid ID. Tickets for both matches can be purchased here.

AFC Mobile Beat Jacksonville Armada FC 1-0 Behind a Stout Defensive Performance

Photo Credit: Seth Laubinger

AFC Mobile rebounded strongly from a tough road loss a week earlier, returning home to defeat Jacksonville Armada 1-0 in NPSL action. The game-winner came in the 65th minute of the second half when Thierry Zabarel headed the ball into the back of the net off an Azaleas corner kick. It was just the team’s second corner kick of the match, with the first just a minute earlier.

Jacksonville had the run of play for much of the first half, but Mobile’s backline did its job and kept the Armada from any serious chances. The Armada had a chance in the 8th minute, but defender Mario Gratzl defended it well and it went out for a corner. AFC Mobile had its own chance in the 15th minute. Striker Ronaldo Fortune stole the ball at midfield, sprinted down the right side of the field, but his cross was unable to find a teammate and drifted harmlessly out of bounds. 

In the 19th minute, the Armada’s Jovoney Brown got through on goal but was fouled by Salia Carr. Carr picked up a yellow, and Carr was able to get his head on the ensuing free kick to maintain the scoreless tie.

Things got more interesting toward the end of the first half. In the 45th minute, striker Iba Ndaw had a great chance on goal, running straight down the center of the field. But his shot went straight into the hands of Armada goalkeeper Brandon Stam. Right after, the Armada stormed down the field and put the ball in net for an apparent 1-0 lead. But the referee had blown his whistle and called off the goal, instead awarding a penalty kick to Jacksonville just before halftime.

Javoney Brown took the kick for the Armada, but in the moment of the match, the penalty was miraculously saved by AFC Mobile goalkeeper William Blake. After the game, Blake said that “it was all a guessing game, but I guessed correctly this time.”

AFC Mobile came out even more energized to start the second half. While Blake’s save almost certainly played a part, Blake also gave credit to the team’s mentality.

“We’ve come out slow in the past couple of second halves,” Blake explained, “so our goal this time was to come out, never switch off, keep the pressure on, and defend defend defend.”

Blake ended the night with a clean sheet, thanks to that save and a stellar performance from the Azaleas’ back line. He had 15 saves, two shy of the club record set by Domenic Nascimben in 2019.

In the second half, AFC Mobile got its first corner kick of the night in the 63rd minute. That corner went nowhere but led to another corner kick a minute later. And this time, Soane Deminguet’s kick found Theirry Zabarel for what turned out to be the game-winner.

AFC Mobile Coach Steve Wieczorek was proud of his team’s effort, especially after an uninspired 2-0 loss to Port City FC a week earlier.

“We had a really long and difficult week together, to be quite honest,” Wieczorek said. “But I know that this group is very talented, and I know that we have a lot more to give. And I told them that this is a ‘make or break’ performance for a lot of the players… and I think that kind of kick-started some of them. And then also, we knew how good they were. So we had a game plan, and we executed it very well.”

The win now leaves AFC Mobile in fourth place in the NPSL Gulf South Conference, with 10 points and a record of 3 wins, 1 draw, and 3 losses. The Azaleas are undefeated at home and will play three more matches at Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium before their next road trip. AFC Mobile’s next match is Saturday, June 12th at 7PM (CT), when they host New Orleans Jesters.

AFC Mobile Falls to Pensacola FC 2-1

Despite a dominant first-half performance, AFC Mobile suffered a 2-1 loss to Pensacola FC on the road on Wednesday night.

Early in the first half, Zubair Taylor chipped a lovely ball over the Pensacola backline to Ronaldo Fortune, but Fortune could not quite get on the end of the ball and was easily collected by Pensacola’s Jules Dechert.

Mobile’s best chance came in the 29th minute when Fortune played a great ball to Soane Deminguet. Moments later, Clairy Kengeye made a run at the Pensacola defender at the top of the box and won the ball. Kengeye took a quick shot, but it was saved by Dechert.

“These games are very difficult. We knew that coming in. We wanted to play on the front foot, we wanted to apply our game model. Unfortunately, we didn’t take chances that we created in the first half and it put us in a difficult position in the second.” AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek said.

Pensacola scored early in the second half when Jordi Ramon headed the ball in off a Pensacola corner. The home team doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when Prince Owusu scored on a Pensacola counter-attack.

In a fixture known for late dramatics, the Azaleas nearly pulled a goal back. However, Mario Gratzl’s shot was touched by Jackson Wheatley in an offside position, nullifying the goal.

Mobile cut the lead to one in the 89th minute when Iba Ndaw forcefully headed a ball downward off of a corner into the Pensacola net. However, the visitors could not find the net a second time, and the match ended 2-1.

AFC Mobile take on Port City FC on Saturday in Gulfport, Mississippi in the second leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup. AFC Mobile currently holds a 2-1 lead in the rivalry competition. The Cup is presented to the team with the better aggregate score between the two regular season matches between the teams.

AFC Mobile Rallies to a 2-1 Victory over Florida Roots FC

MOBILE – After falling behind in the 9th minute, AFC Mobile rallied to secure a 2-1 victory over Florida Roots FC. The result puts AFC Mobile to 2-1-1 for their 2021 National Premier Soccer League Season, currently sitting in 3rd place in the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference.

Mobile started the match strong containing early possession, but an early deflection from a Roots corner led to a mess just outside the 18-yard box where a screened Salvador Plaza was beaten by a quick shot by the Roots’ Liam Kearns making a late run onto the bouncing clearance.

“I think there are some things that we can clean up because we put ourselves in another difficult position when it probably didn’t call for it,” AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek said. 

From there the match shifted heavily in Mobile’s favor with AFC Mobile creating chances through the holdup play of Ibrahima Ndaw and some great combination work between Soane Deminguet and Ronaldo Fortune. Ndaw found Deminguet, who was able to cut around the Roots defense playing it onto Fortune on the left side. Fortune cut it on the six-yard box squaring the ball to a streaking Ndaw, but Roots goalkeeper Joshua Burton was able to get a piece of it, sending it out for a Mobile corner kick.

With Mobile still trailing in the 26th minute, Ndaw held the ball to play Jackson Wheatley down the wing. Wheatley played a quick pass to Deminguet who sent a late arriving Ndaw through; however, the ball was tapped out by the Root defense for a Mobile corner. The corner taken by Deminguet was headed on frame by Mobile’s Vlad Margolin, but Florida’s David Born was able to head out and deflect what  would have been the Mobile equalizer.

In the 34th minute, a ball played from Mobile’s Andrew Rhoda found a streaking Wheatley underlapping towards the box. Wheatley played the ball to Fortune, who found an overlapping Margolin. Margolin’s cross found a powerful header by Ndaw, which was again saved by a header away from Ben Lebdaoui, who again denied Mobile their equalizer.

That equalizer would come in the 39th minute. Deminguet received the ball outside of the 18-yard box. After cutting in, he took a shot, which deflected off the hand of the Roots’ Agustin Vivas de Lorenzi. Ndaw was able to take the penalty shot and send the keeper in the wrong direction, equalizing the game at 1-1.

In the 43rd minute off a long throw from Stanley Joseph, Thierry Zabarel deflected  the ball into the back of the net to give AFC Mobile a 2-1 lead.

“By chance, I’m at the right moment, at the right time, at the right area and from a deflection, I touched it with my thigh…and to be the one who scored the goal that gave us the win, that’s the most important thing I think,” said Zabarel after the game.

The game became increasingly physical as the second half progressed with a hard challenge between Wheatley and Roots keeper Joshua Burton, leading to Wheatley’s substitution at halftime for Mobile native Clairy Kengeye.

Kengeye, a long-time member of AFC Mobile, made his appearance known immediately after halftime, when in the 47th minute a ball played to him led to a powerful shot that was saved by Burton. Burton came up big once again for the Roots with a spectacular save on Kengeye, who rocketed a shot to the far post in the 74th minute.

As stoppage time approached, Vlad Margolin received his second yellow card, which left Mobile down a man for the full six minutes of stoppage. 

“We got three points at home, so anytime that happens the guys are going to feel pretty good,” said Wieczorek, “I’m happy because we did win but I also think there are some things we can clean up.”

AFC Mobile moves to 2-1-1 on the season in the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference. The Azaleas hit the road next for a mid-week matchup at Pensacola on Wednesday, May 26, followed by the second leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup against rivals Port City FC in Gulfport. AFC Mobile will return home on June 5 to host Jacksonville Armada at 7:00 p.m. at the Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex in Mobile. 

10-man AFC Mobile Score Late to Secure a 2-1 Win in the First Leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup

MOBILE – A late goal from Ronaldo Fortune gave 10-man AFC Mobile a win over rivals Port City FC in its home opener, the first leg of the 2021 Forgotten Coast Cup, a rivalry trophy handed to the aggregate regular-season winner of the two clubs. The 2021 edition is the first in the NPSL for the former GCPL rivals.

It was a difficult start for the Azaleas, as Port City scored in the fourth minute of the match after a short corner was floated into the box by Renan Diniz and headed over AFC Mobile goalkeeper Salvador Plaza by Guilherme Bittencourt. Minutes later, the Sounders were awarded a penalty after the referee spotted a handball in the box. Port City’s CJ Smith stepped up to take the penalty, but Plaza saved his shot, drawing a roar from the 1,246 fans in attendance.

“Sal made a very very good save and kind of energized us a little bit,” said AFC Mobile head coach Steve Wieczorek. “Obviously, playing in front of 1300 fans helps.”

Possession shifted in Mobile’s favor after Plaza’s save. Mobile’s Soane Deminguet’s chance in the 20th minute was saved by Port City’s Owen Betz. In the 24th minute, Port City’s Andrew Elkins saw a yellow card for a professional foul on Mobile’s Iba Ndaw in the midfield. 

In the 37th minute, Fortune’s shot was saved by Betz. Fortune collected the rebound and played the ball across the box to Jackson Wheatley, who dragged his shot wide – one of several chances created by Fortune in the game. In the 43rd minute, Mobile’s Ndaw received a pass, turned to beat the Port City midfield, and played a one-two with Fortune. Ndaw’s chance sailed wide left. 

In the 46th minute, AFC Mobile’s Zubair Taylor was sent off for a late, high tackle, reducing the Azaleas to ten men just before halftime.

Despite the red card at the end of the first half, the Azaleas started the second half on the front foot. In the 53rd minute, Fortune played a ball over the Sounders’ backline and found the feet of a charging Soane Deminguet, who received the ball with his back to goal, touched back to his right and slotted the ball home to level the match for the Azaleas. 

The teams traded chances for the next twenty minutes, with both keepers called into action. The last fifteen minutes saw a flurry of subs for the Azaleas as Erik Aispuro entered the game for Thierry Zabarel and Blake Palmquist entered for Darrius Rashid, who made his AFC Mobile debut on the night. 

The deadlock was finally broken in the 84th minute when Sounders attempted to clear Soane Deminguet’s corner attempt. Fortune picked up the rebound, and his shot rolled into the lower right-hand corner of the net, giving the Azaleas a 2-1 lead. 

“Honestly, I missed five opportunities,” Fortune said. “I knew the team needed something. I tried to be as patient as possible, and when I saw the little gap, I just took it.” 

  Wieczorek had high praise for the attacking midfielder. 

“We brought him in from the University of Mobile, where he’s an all-conference first-teamer,” he said. “He’s a guy that’s going to get ten, fifteen goals in a college season. He just needed to find his feet with his new teammates in a new system playing in a position he doesn’t play for in his college team. I knew the goals would come. Today could’ve been more than one, and I’m excited to see what he can deliver over the course of the season. 

Wieczorek did not reserve his praise for the attack. He noted that the Azaleas played ten men down for 45 minutes and gave his defense high marks.

“We played 45 minutes down ten men with a back three, and those guys defended valiantly. Sal played a very good game in the second half, and the back three with our center midfielders in front of them allowed the opportunity to attack the way we did.” 

This was the Azaleas’ first win of the season, and first in their NPSL history. The win gives Mobile four points from three games and sends them to third in the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference table.

Mobile will host Florida Roots in its next match, May 22 at 7 p.m. in Mobile. The second leg of the Forgotten Coast Cup will be contested the following week, May 29th, in Gulfport. The winner of the aggregate score of the two regular-season matches will be presented the rivalry trophy, which is currently in AFC Mobile’s trophy case after the 2019 season.