By Ian Bolger/Florida Roots FC
The Florida Roots Futbol Club (0-6-1) fell short in their comeback attempt against Southern States SC (5-3-0) 1-0 on Thursday evening at Tommy Oliver Stadium. Southern States scored off the deflection of a Roots’ defender in the first half to secure the one-goal victory.
Both the Roots and Southern States came into this match on losing streaks, as well as both not scoring any goals in the past three games. Southern States broke their three-game losing streak during Thursday’s match to stay within the top two spots in the conference, while the Roots suffered their sixth-straight loss and stayed put with only one point on the season.
The match started with stellar play by the goalkeepers from both teams, as they neutralized all the speedy attacks that came their way within the first few minutes of the game. Roots goalkeeper Josh Burton made multiple plays in the first half to save potential goals on corner kicks and open field shots.
Later in the first half, attacker Gabriel Villafane Vidal had an open look on goal in the 28th minute, but the shot on goal went right into the hands of the Southern States keeper. This would be the beginning of many scoring opportunities that just wouldn’t go the Roots’ way.
In the 32nd minute, Southern States pushed the ball to the back line and crossed it into the penalty box. This was when the ball was deflected off a Roots’ defender and ultimately landed in the back of the net to give the Hattiesburg-based team their first goal in three games.
Just minutes later, Southern States had the opportunity to make it a 2-0 lead, but Burton was able to make the grab for the Roots to keep the deficit at one goal. Midfielder Alec Palanjian tried returning the favor to Southern States right before half, but barely missed the shot left of the post and went into half down by one.
The majority of the second half in this match was dominated by the Roots’ offense pushing down the field to force a draw that would break their five-game losing streak. In the 51st minute, the Roots forced multiple corner kicks during an offensive attack and their long shot on goal went into the keeper’s hands a few moments afterwards.
Southern States had offensive attacks of their own, but all of them were put to a stop by Burton and the Roots defense that was held down by captains Taylor Bradley and David Born.
Ricardo Smith had two opportunities in the final minutes of the game to score the Roots’ first goal in three games, but both of his shots went wide of the post. The Roots had a chance to score in the final minutes of the game but were never able to form a strong enough attack to score the equalizer.
The Florida Roots will have no time to rest, as they will quickly get ready for another home competition against Pensacola FC on Saturday, June 12th at 7:00 pm. This match at Tommy Oliver Stadium will hold heavy implications towards the 850 Cup between the two teams and Tallahassee SC.
Photo Credit: Paul Kearns