Pensacola, Fla. – Michael Lightbourne netted a second-half winner for Pensacola FC over the visiting Stars on Saturday night. It was the Star’s first defeat of the season in a thrilling and physical game. Pensacola was reduced to 10-men on 75 minutes when Jayce Dotson was sent off for a second yellow card. Just before that the Stars’ Danny Reynolds had missed a penalty-kick that would have leveled the score. The final 15 minutes plus more than 10 minutes of added time was a physical battle, littered with free-kicks as the home team scrapped to hang on to their lead. Despite the close reverse the Stars battled, albeit in vain, as they tried to find the net and level the score. It was the first shut-out against the Stars offense this season and only the second goal conceded. The teams get it all to do again on Thursday, June 3rd, 7:30 pm Kick-Off at the Oakes.
It is not unusual for expansion teams to struggle in their first year, whatever sport or league they are playing in. Not so for the Southern States Soccer Club’s Star. The Stars currently top the division with four wins from five games and were ranked third in the nation behind the Georgia Revolution and Minneapolis City before the loss at Pensacola FC. Coach Carl Reynolds and his team have exploded onto the minor league scene with impressive wins against AFC Mobile, the New Orleans Jesters, the Florida Roots out of Panama City, and in-state rivals Port City (Gulfport). Only the Florida-based Jacksonville Armada are unbeaten in conference play and they host the Stars on June 7th for a significant shoot-out that could go some way toward influencing the destiny of the championship trophy. Though it is still early in the season Jacksonville and the Stars appear to be the standout teams at the moment.