By Hannah Bernick/Florida Roots FC
The Florida Roots FC faced off against AFC Mobile for their last home match of the 2022 NPSL season. The game, hosted at Tommy Oliver Stadium, welcomed fans free of admission with a specialty superhero theme night. The limited edition Marvel inspired t-shirts proved to be a big hit with the crowd.
With a win, Florida would still be in the running to make the playoffs for the NPSL Gulf Coast Conference, whereas AFC Mobile will be unable to make it either way.
The beginning of the first half was led more dominantly by the Florida Roots. Azaleas goalkeeper Will Blake was continuously challenged, leaving Roots keeper Joshua Burton to sit mostly idle for the first 15 minutes. This stagnant pace was detrimental to the Florida Roots goalkeeper as he was unable to save the ball in the 17th minute. This would give Mobile the early 1-0 lead.
The Azaleas pushed past the Florida Roots defenders and landed a shot in the back of the net, bringing Mobile the lead to 2-0 in the 34th minute. The tension on the field began to grow as the Roots players began to get frustrated. From that point on, the rest of the first half was spent on Florida’s defensive end.
The second half brought equal pressure from both teams. Neither squad was willing to give up. The Roots continued to have shots on goal but were unable to score on any of them.
Two injuries from the Roots starting lineup led to a decreased pace on the pitch. The team was not going to roll over even with this setback. All of Florida’s players still went after each and every play no matter the deficit.
The Azaleas were left scoreless in the second half, while the Floria Roots were left scoreless for the game. Both teams fought hard until the final whistle. This victory marks the second win of the season for the Azaleas.
“It’s disappointing to lose on our last home game,” head coach Richard Kinniburgh said. “It felt like we didn’t raise our game. We generated a lot of chances but we didn’t test their keeper as most of our goals were off target. We will try to take the next two games, finish strong, and start looking ahead to next year.”
The Roots FC find themselves with a record of 3-7-0 after this defeat. AFC Mobile now finds their record at 2-1-4. The Florida Roots FC hit the pitch again next Saturday, July 2nd at Southern States SC. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm CT.
Photo Courtesy of Florida Roots FC