Trekking far away from the friendly confines of Eagle Field, South Georgia Tormenta FC remained one of the hottest teams in the Premier Development League, defeating the West Virginia Chaos by a count of 3-2 Thursday night.
Tormenta (5-3-1, 4th place in South Atlantic Division) notched its fifth consecutive victory. After going scoreless in its first four contests, Tormenta has come on strong with 10 goals during its winning streak. Fresh off of four straight shutouts, South Georgia’s defense also extended its scoreless streak to 439 minutes before finally allowing the Chaos to find the net.
An expansion team struggling to find any points it could just a few weeks ago, Tormenta is now a legitimate playoff contender as the PDL season winds into its final month. And while many teams would deflect talk of what could be achieved down the road, South Georgia is all-in on what its potential can be.
“We had better be thinking about (playoffs),” Tormenta coach Ben Freakley said. “We came together for that reason. Our goal has been to improve as a team and compete in every game. That’s what we’re here to do.”
After blanking the Chaos 3-0 in a home game last weekend, Tormenta made the trip to Charleston, W.V. to finish off the season sweep.
In the 38th minute of action, Reed Norton’s though ball found Jad Arslan and the midfielder’s low strike put Tormenta in front, 1-0. South Georgia struck again just before the half when Kieran Roberts turned on a dime to loft a cross that found the head of Sam Lofts before settling in the back of the net.
West Virginia finally struck back with a goal in the 69th minute, but the goal was matched just three minutes later as Rashid Alarape found an open Nikolai Hammer for Hammer’s first goal of the season.
“The fact that we responded like that shows resilience,” Freakley said. “This is a long, tough road trip and I’m sure they wanted to win after being beaten by us last week. We may have given up a couple of goals, be we did some of our best defending tonight.”
Freakley gave plenty of defensive credit to Casey Osborne, who hit the field for the first time in weeks after being sidelined by a knee injury. Osborne – normally a center back – slid outside to take the place of an injured Ayao Sossou. Osborne played all 90 minutes to help secure the win.
“It felt great to be back,” Osborne said. “The great thing about our team is that I was still a part of it, even when I wasn’t playing. It really felt good to be able to do my part and help us win one.”
While riding high on its win streak, Tormenta looked outside the playing field to give another great effort that had nothing to do with soccer.
Over the last week, thousands of West Virginians have suffered as widespread flooding has plagued the state. Tormenta Vice President of Franchise Development Heidi Jeffers reached out to the local Red Cross prior to the trip to see if there was anything Tormenta could do to help area residents.
“They said that people needed water,” Freakley said. “So that’s what we’re doing. Our guys are heading back to the team bus right now to unload cases of water that will hopefully be a little bit of help.
“We want to keep things in perspective. We’ve been winning lately, but some families around here haven’t been. If we can help in any way, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.