For a second consecutive season, the season of Tormenta 2 ended in postseason heartbreak on its home field.
Playing against perennial power Reading United on Sunday, Tormenta stormed out to a 2-0 lead, only to see Reading pull even late in the match. Extra time was required and the match seemed destined to go to a shootout before a highly questionable foul in stoppage time of the second extra period awarded Reading with a penalty shot that it converted to notch the win and head to next week’s League Two national championship match.
The sudden end to the season left Tormenta 2 in a daze. There was plenty of contention with the referee over the awarded penalty, followed by a frantic final two minutes in which they failed to re-tie the game. Plenty of players seemed to be in a bit of shock after the final whistle and minutes later there were hugs and quick goodbyes as the players will soon leave town to rejoin their respective collegiate squads.
It was a harsh way to end the season — especially since the last two losses suffered by Tormenta 2 on its home turf have been season-ending — but once the sting of Sunday’s loss fades, it will be impossible to look back on the summer as anything but a huge success.
In just its fourth season of existence, Tormenta has finished above .500 every year and has now won consecutive division championships. This season’s run to the national semifinals marks the deepest playoff push to date and the squad once again notched a victory in U.S. Open Cup action as Tormenta 2 throttled League One side Chattanooga SC back in May.
With this season’s addition of a new professional tier — and Tormenta’s League One squad — the League Two club is sure to benefit even more as it turns the calendar over to 2020.
The biggest constant from day one of the organization’s existence has been the culture and first-rate quality of everything surrounding the team. From accomodations, to training, to nutrition and field conditions, Tormenta received immediate rave reviews.
As word spread around the league and through the college ranks, the usually arduous job of identifying and recruiting talent became easier as it was the talent that began to seek out Tormenta. In 2017 and 2018, Tormenta coaches and front office officials commented on how a day wouldn’t go by without prestigious college teams calling up to inquire about placing players in their care for the summer.
This season, the addition of the professional side within the club has done even more to fuel the League Two fire. Not only did this season’s Tormenta 2 squad get to test itself against elite college talent in League Two play, but it was also able to train and compete with the pro team practicing on the same fields each day. Add in the fact that many of this summer’s Tormenta 2 players will be hunting for a pro contract next summer and the convenience of auditioning for the club’s 2020 League One roster was an easy way to reel in top talent this season.
In a league that routinely sees huge amounts of turnover from season to season, Tormenta 2 has been able to achieve the consistent success that teams in all sports crave. Sunday may have been a tough way to end things for this summer, but Tormenta has returned each May with a bigger and - going by yearly results - better squad ever since opening up shop four years ago.
The 2019 Tormenta 2 squad didn’t leave much unaccomplished, but you can bet that the 2020 edition will be looking to improve.
Judging by past results, there’s no reason to doubt they will.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.