Fall 2021 Season Preview – Georgia Divisions Get An Upgrade!


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A guide for the fans, by the fans!

Smallworld Soccer’s Danny Katula and Drefooty Studio’s Fredrick Irving give you a brief insight into each of the soccer clubs, both new and old, in the UPSL Georgia Premier Division and Division 1 respectively.

With the year-round structure of the United Premier Soccer League, no time is wasted between seasons as we move swiftly on into what we expect will be a fantastic Fall season. Now we have some new exciting teams entering the divisions and it is the goal of this magazine to get you to know them better.

Use this as a guide as the season goes on and you attend games in person or watch games live on Eleven Sports where you are with your mobile device or comp

Get to know our teams and enjoy and get ready for action!!!

FC Matata 6 – 4 Club ATLetic

Staff Writer
Marvin Walters
@marvinw01143318

FC Matata Coach Hippolyte Medjibe Mekourou recorded his sixth win of the campaign in a ten-goal thriller at South Gwinnett Stadium on Sunday afternoon. A brace from Wilfried Tchoupa was not enough to save coach Felipe Lobelo’s Club ATLetic from facing their fourth defeat and staring down the barrel of relegation.

The league leaders went behind 1-0 through a second minute penalty kick by Tchoupa. Lionel Touroude made it 1-1 six minutes later. Touroude collected a well weighted pass from second place leading goal scorer Jaden Khamis, he then blew past Ady Niang and Gary Shorrow as easy as knife through butter before bamboozling the keeper to finish from an acute angle. Euclid would be as proud as a peacock to see how Touroude measured that angle with such precision.

Matata finished last season in 4th position and is determined to win the division title this season. They showed the traveling fans exactly what they are about in the 14th minute, when the quick-thinking Jerry Desdunes sharply sent Touroude on his way with a quickly taken free kick after the goalkeeper Sebastian Farias was ruled to have handled the ball outside the 18-yard box. A call that was vehemently argued by the Club ATLetic officials on the sideline.

Touroude latched on to the end of the pass with a sweet finish to make it 2-1 to Matata. Club ATLetic now had a mountain to climb both in the game and to get out of the doghouse at the bottom of the table. The adage of lightening will not strike the same place twice was thrown hastily through the window when Santy Mokgoatsana was brought down clumsily by Matata keeper, David Magala for the second straight penalty. You can bet your house on Tchoupa to score a penalty as he makes scoring them a habit. He firmly stroked home the resulting spot kick to make it 2-2 ten minutes before the half.

Club ATLetic sat out last year’s tournament due to the pandemic, as their coach, a medical doctor by profession, worked fervently to combat the Coronavirus. Just how Dr. Lobelo’s concerted efforts has help to restore normalcy in society the fans are expecting him to wield his magic wand to help save ATLetic from being relegated this season.

The jubilant supporters scurried to the side rails in a euphoric moment in the 44th minute when Edgar Garcia turned home a long-range effort from Tolulope Afolabi. However, the noise quickly died when the assistant referee signaled off-side. Many thought it was a dubious call and vented their anger and frustration at the decision. With both teams heading down the tunnel locked at 2-2, there was still all to play for in the second half.

Matata started the second half like a house on fire creating several clear-cut chances. In the 52nd minute Desdunes magical touches got him swiftly past three defenders before laying it off to the quiet Jaden Khamis. Khamis returned the pass to Desdunes who tried to elude the onrushing defender.  The ball then bounced auspiciously in his path behind the last line of defense where he could have taken the shot, but instead played it nicely to Touroude to score exquisitely for his third of the afternoon.

At 3-2 up Matata decided to go for the kill signaling their intent on making their claim on the coveted division title. In the 54th minute Matata started applying a little more pressure on the accelerator pressing higher up the pitch.  This pressure paid dividends when defender Lima Nuvala lost the ball while dribbling out to Khamis who smartly played in Desdunes to make it 4-2.

Matata was a sight to behold when they are in the mood reminding one of that Barcelona Tika-Taka style passing, but Club ATLetic has the heart of a lion and refused to play dead. In 78th minute they pulled within a goal after Tchoupa unselfishly released Eddie Robinson who drove a ferocious shot pass the hapless Matata goalkeeper. With a little under a quarter of an hour plus added time coach Mekourou could be seen sitting nervously beside his team bench while coach Lobelo frantically urged his players to find the equalizer.

To get the equalizing goal Club ATLetic was caught out of position. With Club pressing far up the pitch in search of that equalizer, Matata’s  Desdunes used his pace and agility to get by the ATLetic defense to sweep home his second goal of the afternoon in the 87th minute.

Before the smoke could clear it was 5-4, as ATLetic’s Will Knight decided to add a twist to the tale.  With the golden boot race so evenly poised with Seas Jamaica’s Rajay Wright on 13 and Matata’s Jaden Khamis on 12, Touroude had other plans as he scored his fourth goal of the afternoon and his 12th for the season in the second minute of time added on. The final whistle was greeted with relief on Matata’s bench, Mekourou just about managing a smile as he made his way from the dugout. Despite the crazy finish at South Gwinette Park, Club ATLetico are still within a chance of avoiding relegation and getting a division playoff spot.

Coach Mekourou: “We are pleased how his team dug deep to get out of a difficult moment. Our team loves the second half however we do not want to wait until second half to close games out we want to win it from first half”.

Coach Lebelo: “We know today’s game would have been a tough one and we were right in it but it’s difficult to go power to power with a team like Matata with such depth and power. We had some questionable calls, but such is the game”.

Man Of The Match: Lionel Touroude “We are in first place and we are trying to win all our games. The Golden Boot award is not on my mind it doesn’t matter who scores, I just want to win and help the team win trophies”.

FC Matata 3 – 2 Atletico Atlanta

Staff Writer
Marvin Walters

FC Matata still “have their heads high like the National flag during the playing of the national anthem” after a dramatic 3-2 win over defending champions Atletico Atlanta as they propelled to within 2 points of leaders LSA Limeño.

Matata came from behind to claim victory in a box office blockbuster at the South Gwinnett Park. Hattrick hero Jaden Khamis scored three unanswered goals to help Matata beat Atletico Atlanta in an epic 5 goal thriller.

“Hakuna Matata” which means “there are no troubles” must have been the song that was played in the dressing room at half time. It was the third win for the season – and their second come from behind win for Matata under coach Hippolyt Emekourou.

While the result extended a miserable run for Atletico Atlanta, who since the absence of striker Akini James, captain Jeffery Otoo and influential Belize national team captain Deon McCauley they have taken seven points from five games and slid down the table into 4th spot, with the immediate three clubs below them having games in hand.

Atletico raced into a 2-0 lead within 22 minutes. Derrick Boateng open the scoring from the penalty spot after Jared Daniel was brought down in the box by Bismark Danson. The Matata defense started pointing fingers at each other as their defense was cut wide open like a tin of beans by shear pace from Daniel.

Before the dust could settle between the defenders, they were put to the sword again. Garcia Esteban collected a well weighted pass from Victor Profit and got by Mohamed Tambadu effortlessly. He then whipped an exquisite pass to Mohamed Lamin Gerewou who passed the ball expertly into the back of the net to make it 2-0. With his back against the wall so early in the first half Coach Emekourou was forced to make an emergency change bringing on his secret weapon Lionel Touroude in the 27th minute.

It was clear almost from the outset that things would not be straightforward for Matata against a team that is the current champions. Trailing 2-0 could have been 3-0 or 4-0 if it were not for some stout defending and some excellent goalkeeping. Having spent most of the game in his dug-out, legs stretched out and arms folded, the Matata boss finally came out to voice an opinion as his side, trailing and looking edgy, failed to execute what their manager felt was a routine clearance. Emekourou bellowing could be heard from the media seats. The instruction was clear – get the ball away from our goal quickly.

In the 32nd minute Jared Daniel blistering pace proved how he can be a menace to defenders as he rushed pass three defenders and found himself one and one with goalkeeper Daniel Perez who clawed the ball out of the evening sky as Daniel tried an audacious dink. Matata seemed galvanized by that Perez save and they defended stubbornly to ensure the deficit did not get any worst.

It is said that players win, and coaches lose games but this time it was the coach who came up champs making some tactical changes and giving his team that extra motivation during the interval. The home side created a flurry of chances at the start of the second half and was rewarded in the 48th minute when Minani Elia was first to a loose ball in Atlanta’s defensive quarter and slipped a ball to Khamis who opens his body to slot home calmly. That goal clearly set the home fans on their feet cheering with every attacking intent of their beloved team.

Eight minutes after the hour mark Matata’s star man Jerry Desdunes picked up a pass in the middle of the park and played a sumptuous ball to set up Khamis who punished the defending champions for their wastefulness when he drilled home a low shot to level out things.

The momentum quickly swung in the home team’s favor as they pressed for the winner. Atletico was stunned and could not find an answer to Matata as they stormed a comeback. Daniel got a glorious opportunity in the 72nd minutes to lift the daunting spirits of the traveling supporters, but he scuffed his shot wide. Six minutes later it was Matata on the prowl again this time Dieu Merci Namilapo ferocious shot from 25 yards peeled off a bit of paint off the post before being cleared by defender Michel Hurtado to safety.

If Khamis’s goal was a big surprise to the home fans, they were stunned four minutes from time when Matata swept forward from a Atletico’s corner. Namilapo sent Khamis on his way with a long pass from inside his own area. Twinkle toes Khamis drove forward with real intent, his mesmeric step overs froze Profit before his shot found the top right corner from the edge of the area.

FC Matata Coach Hippolyt Emekourou- “Today’s game was a tough one. We were set back by those two early goals, but I am so proud of the boys mentality on how they fought back. The only two disappointing moments for me were the two quick goals we conceded when we did not look like we were going to concede. Defending against speedy players has been one of our few strengths this season and we conceded two today. Overall, it was a fantastic victory. It was the number of chances we created which pleased me most. I have not seen us create that many chances. A win was particularly important at this moment in time. The attitude, work-rate and determination of the players, that’s brought us a big, big victory.”

Atletico Atlanta Coach Joao Garcia- “We played better the first half they played better the second half they won the game 3-2. We are national champions we did not rest, and the boys needed rest so I rested seven starters today however we could have won the game from first half by going 4 goals up, but we switched off and that’s what happen when you switch off. Its hard to stay at the top especially when you do not have any off season. We will see them in the play-offs hopefully”.

Jaden Khamis Matata FC, Hattrick hero: “ I thought the team came back good, first half behind 2-0 our heads were down but I told them second half was a new start, a new game and they lift their heads up and we got the win. For the third goal I said to myself I must stay calm because this is the best opportunity to win the match, I may not get another one”.

Highlights\Stats Review: FC Stone Mountain 2-3 Potros FC

NON PRO SOCCER

In a back and forth game with a dramatic ending, Potros FC came away with a valuable win against FC Stone Mountain with a very late stoppage time winner to keep their playoff hopes alive after this mid-season battle. FC Stone Mountain see themselves firmly settled in the relegation zone with a need to turn things around soon to avoid the drop at the end of the season.

Enjoy the match highlights (Mycujoo TV) and statistical reviews (NonPro Soccer) below:
Match Photography courtesy of Images Frozen In Time

Following are all the results from the weekend courtesy of our partners over at NonPro Soccer:

Atlanta Elephants FC 3-1 Seas Jamaica All Stars

Staff Writer
Marvin Walters

Atlanta Elephant FC eased to a 3-1 victory over Seas Jamaica All Stars on Sunday to keep alive their hopes of challenging for the division title in their first season in the UPSL.

The home team raced into a comfortable lead inside 25 minutes thanks to a first half strike by Moustapha Dante. Seas Jamaica equalized in the 65th minute courtesy of debutante and former Lacovia High School Dacosta Cup Super star Rajay Wright. The lead was extended in the second half with a wonder strike from captain Alpha Balde in the 71st minute, before substitute Franck Dibi put the game out of reach with an equally as good strike in the 74th minute.

Seas Jamaica 2 points off the bottom of the table was desperate for three points in last Sunday’s game but found goals hard to come by after losing their lethal striker and Golden Boot winner, Akinni James. The loss of some key defenders from last season had them finding it equally as difficult to shut out teams with a porous back four. On the other hand, Elephants FC making a serious surge to the top after losing only once from four games and now sits comfortable in second despite playing a game more than leaders LSA Limeño.

Seas Jamaica started the game nicely and was out of the blocks the quicker and should have taken the lead after a few early chances. Elephants FC took some time to get into gear, but when they did, they were amazing moving the ball in a tic-a-tac fashion across the lush green park of South Gwinnett Stadium.

Seas Jamaica got off the hook in the 16th minute after nice build up play found Mohamed Diallo who finished methodically but to his dismay the assistant referee flagged him for half side. Seas did not make use of their early exchanges and were now dithering. A minute later Elephants were again knocking loudly at the door of Seas. Former St. George’s College stand out goalkeeper Hakeem Francis brought off an acrobatic save to deny  Elephants and Diallo the opening goal.

Still 0-0 at this point and Atlanta Elephants with the better of chances but Seas Jamaica were not playing poorly by any stretch of imagination. As it was written “knock and it shall open unto thee.” That was the case in the 25th minute when Balde capitalized on a poor back pass from the shaky Seas Jamaica defense to slip through Dante for the opener. The jubilant Elephants’ spectators were happy to see a goal after a decent exchange from both teams. Elephants could have extended their lead, but poor shooting continued to haunt them. Seas Jamaica were a bit unfortunate not to have at least equalized as the half ended 1-0 to Elephants.

Atlanta Elephants had been brilliant throughout the first half but they let the visitors back into the match 20 minutes after the break. Seas’ Rayjay Wright found the net after collecting an incandescent pass from his strike partner Cameron Grassmyer to finish from a tight angle.

With current champions Atletico Atlanta dropping points in a Friday evening blockbuster against Club ATLetic in a 1-1 tie, it was important Elephants kept pace at the top of the table. With that in the back of their minds, Elephants pressed for the go-ahead goal and got their just reward in the 71st minute. Balde created a first-time superlative strike from 40 yards, the recipient of yet another poor clearance from Seas Jamaica Left Back Ryan Pugh.

Substitute Dibi showed the coach how much of an impact he can be whenever giving the chance. The spectators were still in awe over Balde’s goal but Dibi must be saying ‘anything you can do I can do it better’. In minute 74 he pulled the trigger from 35 yards and let fly a blinder that left goaltender Francis clutching at thin air to make it 3-1. Seas Coach David Largie was furious on the touch line and would have laced up his boots and roll back the years if he could in a bid to help his struggling team.

Both teams made some changes for the duration of the game though Seas where a little thin on substitution due to the absence of vital players. Elephants’ goalkeeper, Dante will hope to continue his impressive form in front of goal when they take on Club ATLetic in their next league game on April 17. Dante remains a key member of the Elephants and a promising young player for the future.

Atlanta Elephants FC Coach, Zana “Ahmed” Soro

“It is important because we started the game badly. I was pleased to see the team not nervous when they did not score earlier against Seas in the first half. We tried to continue believing in what we do. In the second half we improved, with better movement, and played the ball into space and into feet and players marked man-to-man. It would be more pleasing if we kept a clean sheet.”

 

Seas Jamaica All Stars Coach, David Largie

“I don’t know how we lost the game, let alone 3-1. You have got to put away your chances. The crowd were just about to turn and then we make it easy for them with two goals in 4 minutes and they do not have to worry about a system or anything. I was more pleased than I was against FC Matata. We are hanging in there. I cannot fault them for effort. We have not got enough in the squad; we need two or three extras. It’s a long season and we need to help some of the lads that need a breather now and then.”

FC Matata 5 – 4 Seas Jamaica United FC

Staff Writer
Marvin Walters

The fans in South Gwinnett Stadium witnessed an astonishing nine goals classic as the pandemic curve flattens. FC Matata came up trumps against Seas Jamaica FC to catapult them to second with a thrilling and entertaining 5-4 victory. In an exciting first half, Jaden Khamis gave FC Matata the lead with a sweet strike from 15 yards out in the 12th minute, 4 minutes later Sahlu Haftom doubled the lead after slotting home after a mishap in defense.

Seas Jamaica FC hit back with four goals in twenty minutes. First, Santiago Mosquera well taken first time strike cut the deficit in half in the 18th minute, Akeem Francis made no mistake from 12 yards out to restore parity in the 25th minute, Mikyle Williams converted from the spot after David Magala had unintentionally clipped him to give Seas Jamaica the lead 5 minutes later. Carlos Servellon low effort found the bottom right corner from 20 yards to make it 4-2 heading in the half time interval.

The drama did not stop in the second half as Matata’s Haftom made it 4-3 from a tight angle in minute 56 and Khamis got his second to level the scores from close range in the 59th minute. It seemed as if the visitors would end their three-match winless run in the league, but then up popped midfield maestro Jerry Desdunes with a clincher from the spot in the 85th minute, as the ground erupted at the full-time whistle.

Regarding entertainment value, this match gets top marks. But look past the scoreline and it was a game that featured truly atrocious defending. A defensive calamity that saw Tambadu Alhaji being taken off two minutes before the first half break, a decision that sent shock waves through the curious spectators. Tambadu, a Southern University senior, was having a horrific game in the defense which was coupled with poor communication and often times got caught out of position. This aggravated the coach who made an unorthodox change late in the first half.

Live wire Matata forward, Lionel Touroude, is still out of first team action with an injury he picked up in a recent game and reportedly will be out for an undetermined amount of time. This gave Khamis the opportunity to shine, which he did. The tricky winger had a subpar performance in last weekend’s match in an away fixture. The coach explained in the build-up to the match against Seas Jamaica that Khamis had a future at the club but suggested he lacked confidence. His two goals one in either half is and indication that he is really one for the future.

Seas Jamaica got off slowly and were pegged back early in the first half. The onslaught started in the 12th minute when Khamis played a neat give and go with Desdunes with Khamis collecting the return pass opening his body to slot home for a 1-0 lead. Before the jubilant spectators calmed down, it was 2-0 to the home team courtesy of Haftom who was surprised to find the ball back at his feet to stroke home following his header towards goal

After finishing second last season Seas Jamaica is yet to find a win after three games on the trot and was staring down the barrel of another defeat. They suddenly sprung to life in the 18th minute when Santiago Mosquera caressed home a miscued ball from a corner kick. It was all square in the 25th minute when the skillful Williams slip through a deft pass to Francis who finished effortlessly in an empty net after side stepping the goalkeeper.

Matata was now shell-shocked and Seas Jamaica’s had the wind at their back. Seas went ahead from the penalty spot in the 30th by Williams who was brought down in the box by the goalkeeper. This was set up after Williams was sent on his way from a fine pass from the wily Mosquera. Three unanswered goals quickly turn to four with another top draw pass from Mosquera to Servellon who finished tidily to the right of the onrushing goalkeeper to make it 4-2 in the 39th minute.

It was now down to the coach with the better tactics and influence who will prevail in the second half. Matata was first out the blocks at Usain Bolt’s blistering pace and was rewarded in the 56th minute when Hafton turned home one from a tight angle. Before the smoke could settle it was 4-4, Khamis collected a defense splitting peach of a pass from Desdunes to outpaced Kamal Azimi and slot home from an acute angle. Its funny how easily a smile can turn to a frown in seconds in a game of football, Williams could not believe his luck when he was gifted with a second penalty, but his tamed shot was well read by keeper David Magala and it was turned around the post for a corner kick.

Coach David Largie of Seas was furious on the sideline as he paced the touchline waiting for the final whistle to have a go at his players. Five minutes from regulation time Matata was given an early Easter gift after captain Khalisay Sahlu turned expertly in the box and was brought down clumsily by defender Israel Tuyisenge. Desdunes stepped up and thumped it home from 12 yards to make it 5-4. The referee played four minutes of stoppage time, but Matata weathered Seas final assault for a much-needed three points after a thrilling contest.

Seas Manager: David Largie- “I thought Seas did well and we were hanging on and then the game went into a period of madness of goals. Bad goals for them and bad goals for us. In the end, five bad goals for us and four for them. I’m extremely disappointed the way we defended, particularly the last two goals when we got ourselves in front.”

Matata Manager, Hippolyt Emekourou – “The players have shown a good way throughout and, for them to have something positive, I think it’s important to have something to change the luck man.

“I can’t say it enough, it’s a great bunch of guys and an unbelievable club but when things are going in the wrong direction, it just takes sometimes a lot of determination and courage. We are definitely challenging for the title this season.”

“You can only repeat that message so many times until it gets old. Today I do not need to say much, I can let them feel good about it. I made a drastic change before the first half ended but I rather lose without him than let him stay and win he was communicating poorly around the back and could have cost us the game. They get an extra day off and then we get back to work knowing we still have a long way to go.”

Club ATLetic 5 – 0 FC Stone Mountain

Club ATLetic bounced back from the opening day disappointment of last match week to win their home opener at Dunwoody Springs Ground against FC Stone Mountain by the score of 5-0. Goals from Wilfred Tchoupa, Eddie Robinson Jr IV, Aly Toure and a brace from Cyril Gadu punctuated a thoroughly dominate display from ATLetic on the day.

Both these clubs had skipped both pandemic seasons of 2020 and both were given membership in the new Georgia Premier Division, but the 2 teams are at opposite ends of development and traveling in different competitive directions.

ATLetic’s last action in the UPSL before this season was to be crowned champion on the last President’s Cup over Yardaz FC. FC Stone Mountain had the distinction of finishing last in the league table the last time they were involved. It appears that both patterns are continuing respectively as they were the last time both were involved in competitive play.

ATLetico denied access to much of the possession in the match in their dominate play on the day.

In this home opener for Club ATLetic, the mood of the day was set in the first minutes with ATLetic having the lion’s share of possession and the only attacking chances in the first few minutes. Stone Mountain lacked cohesive play as the young squad struggled to deal with the smooth and effective passing of ATLetic.

The lack of the Granite’s alertness came to the fore in the 13th min when a free kick from Wifred Tchoupa from around 25 yards out, looped in, bounced in the 6 yard box, bounced off the far post, then snuggled into the back of the net without a single touch on the ball. The Stone Mountain defenders and goalkeeper stood in shock horror at the sheer ease of the goal for ATLetic.

It then went from bad to worse for Stone Mountain as they failed to get a handle on the game and Club took full advantage by furthering their lead just before the half.

A headed goal from a set piece by Aly Toure just before the half seemed to fully break the spirit of the Granites. Coming into the 2nd half, more of the same was on the menu for the fans. A close range conversion by AlyToure was followed by 2 very late goals. One goal was from substitute Eddie Robinson and a 2nd for Cyril Gadu in the dying minutes completed the rout for ATLetic. The victory secured all 3 pts for Club ATLetic and doomed Stone Mountain to the worst start of all teams in the Premier Division for Spring 2021.

Club captain, Tolu Afolabi was a rock in the midfield

At this early stage of the season, Stone Mountain have given up 12 goals and scored only 1 in the 3 games thus far. The Granites do have a lot of new, young players and it seems certain that they are favorites for the drop if their fortunes are not tuned around soon.

Club ATLetic however look set to challenge for honors on their return to UPSL competitive play. With 2 games in hand from a late start to the regular season, Club ATLetic opened the season with a loss to Forest Rovers in a game that most would say they deserved at least a point. Maybe the long layoff contributed to the Club miscues in the first match, but there was no such rustiness in this match.

The road only gets tougher for both clubs as Club will be facing the defending champion’s Atletico Atlanta for a Friday night match. Atletico are coming off a heavy defeat to Limeño (their first ever loss in UPSL play) and will have a point to prove, so the fireworks should be loud for that encounter.

Stone Mountain will be facing Potros FC who will have been playing well but can’t seem to get back over the hump since defeating Club ATLetic a week ago. Potros will also have a point to prove as they face the struggling Granites hoping to heap more misery on Owen Clark’s men.

Look for the games on our partner platform, mycuoo.tv for all the live action.

Forest Rovers FC 2 – 1 Club ATLetic

Staff Writer
Marvin Walters

Forest Rovers FC scored once in either half to beat visitors Club Atletic 2-1 in the United Premier Soccer League on Sunday for their first win in three matches and their first ever victory over Club Atletic.

Forest’s Fidel Escamilia put the host ahead in the 40th minute with a screamer from 40 yards out against the run of play after capitalizing on a howler from Club’s Darrell Johnson. Club forward, Wilfried Tchoupa, opened his goal account to restore parity in the 64th minute from the penalty spot with his team’s first goal for the season. In the United States, they give hurricanes a name, if they ever call one Andrew Tanner, please evacuate quickly. Captain reliable Andrew Tanner came up trumps with a Roberto Carlos -like free kick for the clincher in the 89th minute.

Club ATLetic, who were 2019 President’s Cup Champions, have been absent from UPSL league play since that triumph. They got us off in the day’s second game of a quadruple header. Despite cool conditions from light drizzle and overcast skies, it was blazing hot on the field with players playing at a fever pitch.

Great Result for Forest Rovers, but Club ATLetic is just beginning.

Forest Rovers registered the first shot of the game though they were the team chasing the play. The big chance fell to Asa Eqqleston who was unmarked at the back post from Rovers second corner, but his low shot went harmlessly wide and into touch in the 9th minute.

Rovers employed a 4-5-1 formation to try and outnumber ATLetic in the middle of the park, but their diminutive midfielders were no match to the towering build of the ATLetic players. Rovers should be 1-0 up in the 14th minute when Erasmus Freeman broke free with acres of space and the goalkeeper at his mercy, but his tame shot was handled comfortably by Club’s keeper Juan Torres.

ATLetic was comfortable on the ball stringing some slick passes from left to right on the lush green pitch of South Gwinnett Stadium, but it was not until the 19th minute when they were able to offer some goal mouth threat.

The eye-catching winger Wilfried Tchoupa slipped through a sublime pass to fullback Tremel Copeland who left Matthew Fritts chasing shadows, his thunderbolt of a shot must have stung the hands of the Forest goalkeeper Eduardo Alvarado as he turned it aside for a corner kick.

The host came under tremendous pressure as the dynamic midfield quartet of Gerard Eklu, Tolu Afolabi, Tremel Copeland and Wilfried Tchoupa were stroking the ball around the park with alacrity finding each other with pinpoint accuracy. “pressure buss pipe” as it was in the 27th minute when Fritts gave away the ball carelessly to Tchoupa, who laid it off on platter to Afolabi but his snail like movement allowed Fritts to recover to clear the ball off the line.

“Fortune Favors the brave” as it was with Rovers in the 40th minute when central midfielder Darrell Johnson, who was under no pressure, inexplicably made a poor pass which fell in the path of Escamilia who then laced a ferocious 40-yard rocket that flew past the hapless Torres in the Club goal.

Three minutes later Eklu, who was now operating from the right-hand side, played a deft through ball to Mohamed Bangoura who pulled the trigger, but his shot was blocked by Sebastian Sandovial for a corner kick. The resulting corner was controversially turned in by Afolabi, who was flagged by the assistant referee for push in the back. The half ended 1-0 in favor of the valiant Forest Rovers FC, the second time this season they are leading 1-0 at the break. At the break Afolabi was seen pleading his case to center referee but the referee was having none of it.

ATLetic coach Felipe Lobelo was not a happy camper and made it clear to his players in the dressing room, while Forest coach Donald Schmidt was resolute not to have a recurrence of his last home game when points were dropped.

ATLetic restarted the game like a house on fire and was denied the equalizer in the 47th minute when Copeland whipped in a well weighted cross to Afolabi who took it expertly on his chest and rifled a shot on the half volley but to his dismay, and the travelling supporters, his shot ricocheted of the post and back into play.

Forest decided to “park the bus” and absorb all that was thrown at them. The chances started coming quick and fast as ATLetic starts to turn the screws on Forest. In the 57th minute Bangoura snatched the ball cheekily from Patrick Caceres and broke free but his shot was spurned wide with only the keeper to beat.

A slick passage of one touch football between Afolabi, Bangoura, and Tchoupa created some space behind the Forest defense, as Johnson latched on to a pass but was denied for a second time by the post in the 62nd. The skillful Johnson was at it again in the 64th minute his shot outside the box ricocheted off the arm of Fritts for what some have described as a soft penalty award for Club ATLetic.

Nevertheless, Tchoupa took matters in his hands and converted calmly “as cool as a polar bear nose in winter” sending the goalkeeper the opposite direction.

Finally, the stout green defensive wall of Forest Rovers was breached. Again, they surrendered their lead in the second half and could have been behind if it was not for Fritts goal line heroics in the 77th minute.

As the clock ticked away heading towards another stalemate Johnson’s woes continued as he gave away a silly foul 40 yards out. Sandovial was used as the decoy as Tanner placed the ball down gently. Tanner then bifurcated the red brick wall of Club ATLetic to fizz one pass the diving effort of Torres in the 88th minute for the eventual winner.

Coach Shimdt made a few changes to bolster his defense to see out the game for their first win and a first ever win over Club ATLetic. It was an entertaining game to those who were watching in TV land on Mycujoo.tv and those who were live in attendance to witness such a feat.

Forest Rovers FC Hold Seas Jamaica United to a 1-1 Draw

Seas Jamaica FC were held to a 1-1 draw by an experienced Forest Rovers FC side looking for their first point of the season. With this result, Seas is already losing ground in the UPSL summit race to leaders Atletico Atlanta. But there is still a lot of soccer to play in the season.

A well-timed finish from Andrew Tanner gave the visitors the lead in the 27th minute but Seas Jamaica FC found a way back into the game when Adeola Oke leveled with a toe poke from a tight spot early in the second half. Both sides had chances to take all three points, with Seas Jamaica forward Cameron Grassmyer broke free one and one with the keeper on two occasions, while Forest Rovers striker Erasmus Freeman was thwarted by side netting. Forest Rovers substitute Mahmoud Tassiak had a last-gasp chance to win the game when he made a darting run in the box and fell to ground after a firm challenge by Seas Jamaica’s defender Kofe Yanke but his penalty appeal was waved off by the referee.

Substitute Calos Sevellion came on in the second half and immediately made his presence felt by setting up Freeman but he failed to wrap his foot around the ball to get a clean strike. Forest Rovers were heavily pressured late in the second and must thank the Alvarado in goal to walk away with a point. Forest Rover head coach Donald Schmidt said, “The boys were excited to play against Seas Jamaica they are a very strong team, however, we stuck to our game plan to offset them in the first half because we know how tough they are in the second half, luckily we got that all important goal, and we are happy with a point”.

Tyrese Powell picked out George Rodriguez with pinpoint accuracy whose towering header brought out an impeccable save by Eduado in goal who palmed it away for a corner. The resulting corner kick this time found an unmarked Rodriguez who headed wide of the gaping goal. Try as hard as they did, neither team could break the deadlock.

This seemed a game of two halves and Seas Jamaica clearly had a better second half and arguably could have pulled out the win comfortably but for some poor finishing. However, Forest Rovers net minder player\manager, Eddie Alvarado, had other plans with some acrobatic saves to keep his side in the game. “We started well but our opponents had studied us well, they put everyone behind the ball and tried to hit us on the break and it’s not a huge surprise we couldn’t win, this is usually a fixture we have handled well hence why we are a little disappointed, but we will fix it “ said Seas Jamaica head coach David Largie.

The draw now sees both team without a win since the start of the season with Seas Jamaica FC in 7th and Forest Rovers in 8th place. Although early doors, Seas Jamaica, last year’s beaten finalist, now finding life difficult without the services of last year’s golden boot winner Akinni James who now plies his trade with Atletico Atlanta. Grassmyer was brought in to fill his shoes but “those shoes are difficult to fill” bemoaned Seas head coach David Largie.

Both teams will be in action this weekend, Forest Rovers FC plays at home to Club Atletic who are yet to play a game this season while Seas Jamaica plays at home to second place LSA Limeño.

GURU@pithside

 

 

Atletico Atlanta 2 – 0 Rovers FC

Atletico Atlanta get back to winning ways in the UPSL with a thoroughly professional performance as they outlasted a determined Rovers FC side on Saturday. A first half penalty converted by Castro Welder was doubled in the 2nd half by a poachers goal from former Seas Jamaica United standout striker Akinni James who opened his goal account with his new club on the day.

The result bounces Atletico back into familiar territory of top spot in the division table as they bounce back from the previous weekend’s draw against fierce rivals Seas Jamaica. The first time Atletico have dropped points since joining the the UPSL .

A thoroughly entertaining match between two attacking sides.

The result is made more impressive for the fact that Atletico were missing a few key players from their squad for a professional friendly against Chattanooga FC at their Tennessee facility. A match won by Atletico by the score of 1-0.

For Rovers, there is the satisfaction of coming into the division as a new team and playing well enough to match toe-to-toe for long stretches of the match against the reigning Division and UPSL National Champions.

Next up for Atletico is another challenging match against a vastly improved Potros FC side currently sitting 3pts from a possible 6 but coming off a heartbreak of a loss against Atlanta Elephants FC to a late winner from the Elephants.

Rovers FC will play Elephants FC and have the tough task to contain a skillful and strong new team in the league. Elephants currently sit tied with Rovers on 3pts out of a possible 6 and as mentioned above, will be coming off the high of a thrilling 4-3 victory at Potros FC with the winner deep in stoppage time.

You can catch all these games either live or on-demand on Mycujoo.TV.