On a perfect night for soccer in Statesboro, Tormenta FC delivered another perfect result.
For the second consecutive week, Tormenta scored early in the second half and kept its opponent at bay, notching a 1-0 victory over SC United Bantams Saturday night at Erk Russell Park.
A week ago, Tormenta had to find a way to score while playing a man down. On Saturday, it was SC United that lost a player to a red card just before the half and Tormenta smelled blood in the water.
In the 60th minute, Tormenta found the back of the net, only to have the goal called off due to a whistle for offside call. Just two minutes later, Marco Micaletto let loose a screamer from the top of the box that never had a chance of being stopped to provide Tormenta with the margin of victory.
“This was big for us,” Micaletto said. “I’m glad that I was able to step up. I don’t think I’ve been in my top form in the first few games, so I was glad to do something to contribute tonight.”
The goal was much more than just a contribution as Tormenta’s win — combined with a loss by Mississippi Brilla FC — leaves Tormenta all alone in the Premier Development League’s Deep South Division.
“Getting these points early is important,” Micaletto said. “You don’t want to be looking up and chasing teams. We want to be the ones that people have to chase.”
That mentality seems to be shared by everyone on the field and sidelines for Tormenta.
Early on in the match, it was Tormenta that had the better looks on net and that controlled the most dangerous possessions. SC United’s best chance in the first half came on a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box, awarded just minutes before halftime.
But that free kick found a Tormenta wall and — in the immediate scramble for the loose ball — SC United lost its cool. A Tormenta player hit the ground following the restart and appeared to be kicked while down. A scuffle between multiple players from both sides ensued and Bantams’ Edmundo Robinson was shown a straight red to leave SC United at 10 men for the duration.
Playing with the man advantage, Tormenta was relentless in pressuring before finally breaking through on the strike by Micaletto.
“Even before (the red card), you kind of got the sense that they were happy to play for a tie and get a point,” Tormenta coach John Miglarese said. “I thought we played very well in the first half and could have been up if not for some great saves by their keeper. We kept grinding and got the goal. We don’t want any team thinking that they’re going to come to our field and get points.”
Micaletto shared his coach’s feelings.
“We want this to be a fortress,” Micaletto said. “We love playing in front of our fans and don’t want anyone else to win here.”
Tormenta continued to apply pressure following Micaletto’s strike, but wasn’t able to create more breathing room. SC United created a few chances and earned several free kicks in dangerous spots over the final ten minutes, but weren’t able to put a shot on goal as Tormenta keeper Pablo Jara recorded his second consecutive shutout.
A full week of rest awaits Tormenta before trying to repeat Saturday night’s win while on the road. Next week, Tormenta travels to South Carolina to take on the same Bantams squad with a chance to tighten its grasp on the top spot in the division.