By Ian Bolger/Florida Roots FC
The Florida Roots Futbol Club (1-8-2) took their first win of the season against Port City FC (3-6-1), 2-1, on Saturday evening at Tommy Oliver Stadium. This was the Florida Roots’ first win since joining the NPSL this season.
They had many opportunities to secure their first win earlier in the season, such as their 3-3 draws against Tallahassee and Pensacola, or even their 2-1 loss from this past Thursday night where they outshot AFC Mobile 8-2 in the second half. The Roots finally got over the hump and secured what is now their first win of the season.
The match started out with strong attacks from the Roots and the ball constantly stayed in Port City territory. The Roots were pushing the ball into the box for opportunities to score, but just couldn’t execute on multiple attempts in the first half.
Attacker Agustin Vivas de Lorenzi had a shot in the 13th minute that went just right of the goal post and just moments later, defender Zac Bennett was able to tap the ball on a long cross but couldn’t direct it into the net in time.
Port City FC also had their opportunities to score in the first half, but keeper Zach Moenter acted as a brick wall against the Port City attacks.
Right before half, Vivas de Lorenzi made a beautiful cross over the attacker Gabo Villafane, but just missed his foot in what would’ve been the first goal of the game. After that happened, midfielder Liam Kearns made a fantastic pass out to Vivas de Lorenzi for him to knock it in the left side of the net to give the Roots their first lead of the game right before the break.
Entering the second half, the Roots still maintained control of the game, but Port City was building up attacks of their own. In the 77th minute, defender Zac Bennett made a fantastic save as the last line of defense between Port City and the equalizer.
Right after that occurred, Port City threw the ball in, and they were able to tie the game on a header into the goal. This game seemed like it was going to be another heartbreaking draw for the Roots, until it wasn’t.
The game-winning goal for the Roots came in the 79th minute, less than a minute after Port City made the equalizing goal. Defender Hunter Hall directed a header into the back of the net to give his team the 2-1 lead.
The Roots defense was able to stand strong for the remaining portion of the match and the newest NPSL team for Panama City locked in their first win in the history of the NPSL.
The Florida Roots will get a week of rest before heading back out on the road to play Southern States SC on Saturday, July 3rd at 7:00 pm. This will be their second match this season against the Hattiesburg-based team, as the Roots lost to them earlier this season in a 1-0 heartbreaker.
Photo Credit: Paul Kearns