by Ian Bolger/Florida Roots FC
The Florida Roots Futbol Club (0-0-1) and Tallahassee SC (0-1-1) finished with a 3-3 draw in their inaugural season opener on Saturday evening at Tommy Oliver Stadium. This game was one of the most exciting draws you’ll ever see in an NPSL game this season.
The Florida Roots and Tallahassee SC combined for three goals in five minutes, as well as five goals in the first half, to give the fans in Panama City a taste of what’s to come for the rest of the summer.
The match did not take favor to the Roots early in the game, as Tallahassee SC scored a goal within the first minute of the game off a stolen pass and a clear lane to the goal. Just a minute afterwards, Tallahassee struck back with another goal off of an unlucky bounce to stretch their lead to two goals.
Just minutes later, Tallahassee committed a penalty in the box and midfielder Andrew Beasley scored the first-ever goal for the Florida Roots on a penalty kick in the fifth minute. Right after scoring their first goal in the team’s history, the Roots showed resilience scored again in the 12th minute on a throw-in header from midfielder Taylor Bradley to attacker Angel Ruelas to tie the game up after being down by two goals.
There were a few missed opportunities after both sides combined for four goals in 12 minutes with the Roots missing on a close header in the 17th minute and Tallahassee missing on a couple opportunities right after. In the 26th minute, attacker Ricardo Smith scores the third goal of the game for the Roots to give the team their first lead in NPSL history.
Goalkeeper Joshua Burton had back-to-back defensive saves for the Roots in the 35th minute to keep the one-goal lead over Tallahassee. The Roots were able to hold off a late push from Tallahassee for an equalizer goal to keep their 3-2 lead at half.
In the second half, the Roots returned the favor to Tallahassee SC by committing a penalty in the box and giving them the opportunity to tie the game. Tallahassee executed on the penalty kick in the 57th minute and tied the game at three apiece.
In the 71st minute, the Roots shot a free kick into the box, but the ball was deflected by a Tallahassee defender and put out of play. Just minutes later, a yellow card was drawn against the Roots, which was their second of the match.
With two minutes left in the game, the Roots had another chance to score on a free kick just outside the penalty box to take the lead over Tallahassee but couldn’t convert the opportunity successfully. The officials blew the game to a close with the Roots tying Tallahassee 3-3 in their first-ever game in the NPSL.
The Florida Roots will look to find their first win at home on Wednesday, May 12th at 7:00 pm, where they will take on the Jacksonville Armada FC U-23 team at Tommy Oliver Stadium.
Photo Credit: Paul Kearns