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Tormenta FC draws Charleston Battery
Tormenta FC crest WEB

SAVANNAH — Last week, South Georgia Tormenta FC announced that it had dreams of soon playing as a professional franchise. Wednesday night at Daffin Park, the club proved that it can already play on the level of the pros.
    Playing an exhibition against United Soccer League squad Charleston Battery, Tormenta led for much of the game, ultimately walking away with a 1-1 draw.
    “I think that 1-1 was a fair result tonight,” Tormenta coach John Miglarese said. “There were points where I thought we were unlucky not to get another goal or two, but that’s how games can go. What I’m more impressed with is how all of our guys were here to play.”
    Early in the match, neither side was shy about testing the speed and athleticism of its opponent. Several long bombs down the field produced foot races in both directions, drawing excitement from the crowd, but failing to produce solid scoring opportunities.
    Charleston forced a handful of turnovers with aggressive midfield play and had the earliest offensive chances with a pair of corner kicks, but weren’t able to get anything on net.
    Tormenta pushed back, seemingly breaking through the Battery back line twice in the first 15 minutes, but — like Charleston — unable to unleash a shot. Josh Phelps got to a cross in the middle of the box and beat the Charleston keeper with a header in the 18th minute, only to watch the ball slip wide of the left post.
    In the 24th minute, Tormenta finally found the scoreboard.
    Charlie Dennis lofted a corner into the box that was parried away, but controlled by Tormenta. Another high ball into the box was settled by Dennis who turned and struck at point-blank range to put Tormenta in front.
    “We kept fighting,” Miglarese said. “We had a lot of good chances leading up to that goal and finally put one away.”
    The score held into halftime, but Charleston amped up the pressure over the final 45 minutes of action.
    The Battery quickly took control of the possession battle in the second half as Tormenta settled in on defense. For nearly 30 minutes, the ball stayed in Tormenta’s half of the field, with only the stray clearance or goal kick giving the South Georgia back line time to breathe.
    But for all the pressure, Charleston wasn’t able to find a solid shot on Tormenta keeper Matt Rosenberg.
    “We’ve preached defense in the short time we’ve been practicing,” Miglarese said. “Credit Charleston for keeping up the pressure, but it was also some tactics. We didn’t want to press high and go up and down for 90 minutes. We stayed back and defended well.”
    Charleston finally pulled level on what started out as another weak chance. A cross was launched a few yards into the Tormenta box, but had little chance of being possessed by the Battery. A collision sent a soft ricochet just outside of the box and right to Ataulla Guerra who sent a volley screaming into the right side of the net in the 85th minute.
    Not content to play for the draw, Tormenta’s offense found a spark and controlled the final few minutes. South Georgia earned three corners in that span and nearly clinched a victory when a Walker Dawkins shot from the top of the box was just barely deflected away by Charleston’s Joe Kuzminsky.
    With an exciting exhibition in the books, the real fun is about to start.
    Tormenta returns to Statesboro where they will host Myrtle Beach at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Premier Development League season opener.