South Georgia Tormenta FC earned the right to call themselves the inaugural USL W League Champions after defeating the Minnesota Aurora 2-1 in extra time Saturday night in front of more than 6,000 fans in Eagan, Minn.
Jaida Nyby scored the title-winning goal with only five minutes left in extra time on a stunning strike into the right side of the goal. Nyby also scored Tormenta’s other goal. Goaie Sydney Martinez’s saved penalty kick in the 110th minute of extra time helped South Georgia stay alive. Nyby’s goal in the 115th minute brought an end to Aurora FC’s undefeated season in front of its fans.The large crowd was not an issue for South Georgia, as in the seventh minute Nyby was able to find the first goal of the game after an out of position Sarah Fuller was not able to get to a ball. Nyby placed the ball out of the keeper's reach to score.
Aurora FC found the equalizer after a strike Sydney Martinez. The shot from afar saw Martinez unable to get a hand to it. Aurora FC were able to regain possession and momentum of play through the end of the first half, as they limited South Georgia’s offensive presence.
An intense second half battle followed which saw neither side get an opportunity to get a lead. Isabella Gutierrez’s impact throughout the second half helped build confidence and solidify team play, however, after 90 minutes of play, the score was 1-1 which signified extra time.
The extra time saw both teams create opportunities. Aurora consistently threatened Martinez with shots from afar, meanwhile Amy Andrews continued to be an offensive threat with several shots on target.
In the 110th minute of extra time, a penalty was called in favor of the home side after a handball in the inside of the box. With only 10 minutes left, a goal for Aurora would have been hard to overcome. However, Martinez was able to block the kick, a rebound and second rebound, and kept the score tied.
With only five minutes left of play time, penalty kicks seemed closer than ever. In one of the final corner kicks for Tormenta FC, several shots came on target with Fuller getting several saves. However, a shot from outside the 18 from Nyby found the opposing side of the keepers net, making it impossible for her to get to it and sent Tormenta to victory.
In a memorable season, South Georgia Tormenta FC were able to close out its season with its first title in club history. The team finished 8-1-4 and won the South Central Division in addition to the league title.
In June of 2021, Tormenta FC was named a founding member of the USL W League, an elite pre-professional pathway for women looking to build their careers both on and off the pitch. For two decades between 1995 and 2015, the W League saw some of the biggest names past and present in the sport compete on the field.