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Tormenta trying to break scoring drought
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Tormenta's Josh Phelps, top, tries to get his head on the ball between Ft. Lauderdale's Ethan Hardin, left, and Modesto Mendez during a frantic final few minutes of the game at Erk Russell Park on Saturday, April 17 . - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

By JACKSON POPKIN

Special to the Herald


As far as starts go, 0-2 is not the best of them. It’s still early on in the season, for sure, but it’s slowly beginning to feel like South Georgia Tormenta FC is pushing up against a dam. The pressure on that dam is growing, that much is clear: chances are being created, the attacking firepower on the field is evident. How much more will it take, though, until the dam finally bursts?

Just over a week ago, Tormenta opened the 2021 campaign by hosting Ft. Lauderdale CF, the affiliate of MLS’s Inter Miami. Despite control of the game in key aspects like possession, duels won, and passing accuracy, the hometown side couldn’t answer a first half counterattack and lost in a 1-0 result. A tough one, but one to bounce back from next week, right?

Well, despite arguably an even better performance on Saturday, it’s tough to notch a win when faced with a road trip to last year’s League One runner-up Union Omaha. 

In a closely fought affair, Tormenta again controlled the majority of possession and fired off more shots than their Nebraskan opponents, but another first half breakaway and then a defensive lapse late in the game dropped the Blue and Magenta once more, ending in a 2-0 loss.

Now faced with two shutout defeats to begin the season, I’m reminded of the 2016 Tormenta FC season, the inaugural year as a semi-professional team in USL League Two (the Premier Devleopment League back then). A promising roster began its summer by going four straight games without scoring a goal. A streak like that is tough to overcome, especially in what was then a shorter 14 game season. 

But all it took in the next game was a goal, then another, then a win, and suddenly Tormenta was flying. 

The team went on a five game winning run, and even managed to score six times in a single game before the end of the year. Sports are a funny thing; when it clicks, it clicks.

This Saturday’s matchup could be that moment for 2021’s edition of Tormenta. That instant when it finally clicks, when the dam finally bursts. 

The team has shown that it can hang with the league’s best, but the finishing touch just hasn’t made an appearance yet. Now returning to Statesboro, Tormenta aims to get onto the scoresheet against FC Tucson and hopefully a positive result to go along with it. 

This one will be notable for Tormenta striker Azaad Liadi, who moved up to the professional ranks with Tucson after playing for Georgia Southern, and will face his former teammates as he continues to look for his first goal with his new club. 

On the flip side, Tucson’s Charlie Dennis will be a familiar face from his three years with Tormenta from 2017 to 2019, and will now be trying to score for the opposing team. 

FC Tucson are making the cross-country trek for their first game of the year, while Tormenta kick off their third match in familiar confines. 

Can the Statesboro squad take advantage of any rust Tucson shows and grab their first goals and win of the season? We’ll find out on Saturday evening at Erk Russell Park.


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