With just three games to go, AFC Mobile still has all to play for. The Azaleas (4-2-1, 14 points) picked up a huge 2-1 victory over Hattiesburg FC last week and briefly topped the Eastern Conference before Tallahassee SC (4-2-1, 14 points) beat Gulf Coast Rangers to reclaim the top spot on goal difference. Meanwhile, a loss this weekend would eliminate Port City FC from playoff contention after a last minute concession handed the defending champions a 5-4 loss against Pensacola.
All-time series: Labeled the “realest rivalry in American soccer” by Non-League America, AFC Mobile and Port City have as checkered a history as any two clubs in the GCPL. Port City holds the overall series edge with a 3-0-2 (9 points) record against Mobile, but Mobile holds the lead for the 2019 Forgotten Coast Cup after a closely contested 3-1 win at home earlier this season. Since that time, the Sounders have remained competitive, but have been unable to claim a playoff spot. In Gulfport, with their playoff lives at stake and a resurgent attacking corps, Port City FC promise to be a tough out for AFC Mobile.
Port City FC Players to Watch: The headliner for Port City FC is 2018 Big 10 lead scorer and future UConn signee Jordan Hall, but midfielder Joao Victor Facanha is the conductor of the Sounders’ recently-prolific attack. Playing on either the wing or as a central attacking midfielder, Facanha could break a stout Mobile defense down if given the time and space to do it.
Matchup to Watch: Hall had his chances earlier in the season against Mobile, driven by Facanha. Potentially one of the most dangerous attacking duos to ever play in the GCPL, Hall will hope to take advantage of the backline of Vlad Margolin and Zubair Taylor, butTaylor and Margolin have anchored a disciplined and stingy backline. This match will come down to whether Margolin, Taylor, and the rest of the Mobile defense can withstand the full storm of a motivated Gulfport attack.
Why this is a big deal? On the field, the match has massive playoff implications. A win by Mobile would see the Gulfport club eliminated at the hands of the Azaleas for the second time in three seasons, and could boost AFC Mobile’s playoff chances dramatically, pending the results from Tallahassee at Pensacola and Rangers at Hattiesburg (both kicking off at 7 p.m. CT).
AFC Mobile plays Port City FC at Herbert William Stadium, 3225 Hancock Ave, Gulfport, Mississippi. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. CDT. Tickets are $10 and kids 12 and under are admitted for free.
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