By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - (Bracket) No. 12 seed Mobile (Ala.) saved the best until last in the second semifinal match of the NAIA Men's Soccer National Championship, presented by Carrabba's Italian Grill. The Rams scored two goals in the games' final nine minutes to escape with a 2-1 victory against No. 7 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) today from the Emory Folmar Soccer Complex. Stephen Okai and Gaetan Massiah scored successive goals for the Rams.
Mobile will face fellow Southern States Athletic Conference member No. 12 Belhaven (Miss.) Saturday in the national championship final. Mobile was victorious in this year's regular-season meeting by a 3-1 score on Oct. 20.
The 54th annual final is scheduled for 3 p.m. CST Saturday. The event is co-hosted by the Central Alabama Sports Commission and the Southern States Athletic Conference.
"Soccer is a wonderful game," said Mobile head coach Roy Patton. "It took a lot of heart and guts by us to come back from the 1-0 deficit. But, I have to give credit to our opponent, the tremendous ball club from MidAmerica Nazarene."
MidAmerica Nazarene, who had a strong contingent from Olathe, Kan., travel to Montgomery, saw Trent Remmich put home his first goal of the tournament in the ninth minute. He was assisted by Rodrigo Rivas and Eddie Morales. Remmich's shot on goal was only the second for the Pioneers in the first half.
The game was a matchup of two superb defenses that showcased their skill. Both clubs had combined for 17 shutouts heading into today's game. However, the Mobile offense broke through in the 82nd minute when Okai freed himself enough to score his 10th goal of the year. Less than two minutes later, Massiah netted the game-winner, with the assist going to Pierre Mangold.
Xavier Audergon posted one save for Mobile in goal.
Mobile heads to its fourth all-time national championship final and first since 2002. The Rams are 1-2 all-time in the title game with losses in 1994 and 1999 before winning it all in 2002.
NeuLion, the NAIA's official video-streaming company of 12 select NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all matches of the 2012 Men's Soccer National Championship final site in Montgomery, Ala. Single-day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-tournament pass is available for $29.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
For more information, click here.
National Championship Semifinal No. 2 Notes:
• In all-time semifinal appearances, Mobile (Ala.) improves to 4-3-0 and MidAmerica Nazarene was playing in its first-ever semifinal.
• Mobile advances to its fourth-ever national championship final and is 1-2 in that event.
• Mobile meets up with fellow member in the Southern States Athletic Conference, Belhaven (Miss.) in the final tomorrow. The two teams have one postseason meeting back in 2010. The Rams came on top over Belhaven, 4-3 in the 2010 National Championship Second Round.
• With both teams in tomorrow's championship final being a double-digit seed, that fact marks the first time since 1999 when the current format of seeded teams went into effect.
• In all-time national championship action, Mobile improves to 25-14-2 in its 16th appearance. MidAmerica Nazarene falls to 2-3-2 all-time in its third trip.
• Mobile is trying to become the ninth different team in NAIA men's soccer history to win multiple national championships.
• With both teams out of the Southern States Athletic Conference, it is the first time that a SSAC team has appeared in the national championship final since 2004 when Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) did so¬.
• There have been two double-overtime matches, all occurring in the Second Round which brings the 2012 total to five in this year's National Championship.