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.