By Florida Roots FC
Tallahassee SC secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Florida Roots FC in their match at Gavlak Stadium on Saturday night. The hosts began their 2023 NPSL season opener against their 850 Cup opponents and had a strong first half, going into halftime with a 1-0 lead after Braden Masker’s goal in the 32nd minute.
However, the Battle Lions came out with renewed energy in the second half and were able to level the score with a penalty kick from Stafford Downing in the 55th minute. Just a few minutes later, Kevyn Lo scored a second goal for the Battle Lions to take the lead. Despite their best efforts, the Roots were unable to find an equalizer.
The hosts thought they had found the equalizer when Diego Mora rose well at the back post only to see the ball mostly cross the line before being cleared by a Tallahassee defender. The Battle Lions’ defense saw out the rest of the match, and the final score was 2-1 in favor of Tallahassee SC. The defeat will be disappointing for the Florida Roots, who will need to bounce back quickly in their upcoming matches. However, they can take positives from their strong first-half performance.
Roots head coach Rich Kinniburgh shared his thoughts on the match.
“Tallahassee did well against Jacksonville in game one last weekend and looked more together than the Roots, who have a few injuries to contend with,” Kinniburgh said. “It was not the start we wanted but credit to Tallahassee for their comeback. We fielded only four of players from last season in the starting 11. It was Ben Lebdaoui who was the Roots star man of the first half in the 10 role causing trouble for Tallahassee. A few key decisions did not go our way, but that’s soccer. Despite a stronger performance in the first half, we couldn’t find the second goal we arguably deserved. We will regroup, and we know the next game against Jacksonville will be really tough. I hope to see a reaction from my players. We have changed a lot of the roster, and it showed we have not bonded enough yet. I hope that comes quickly.
The Roots are 0-1-0 on the season, and their next match is against Jacksonville Armada FC U-23 on Saturday, May 13 at Tommy Oliver Stadium. Tallahassee SC’s record moves to 1-0-1 and the Battle Lions travel to Pensacola FC. That match is Saturday, Mary 13 at Shoreline Field.
Photos Provided by Florida Roots FC