Faced with a tough test against Myrtle Beach Mutiny, South Georgia Tormenta turned in its best effort of the season.
Tormenta scored twice in the first half and put the game away with another in the second as they rolled to a 3-0 victory and their fourth straight win in Premier Development League play.
“I thought our game plan was spot-on,” Tormenta coach John Miglarese said. “Our movement and our body language was strong and it was what we needed to get ahead.”
Tormenta and Myrtle Beach battled to a pair of 1-1 draws last season and Tormenta came out on top in a U.S. Open Cup match last month. Saturday’s match figured to be another nip-and-tuck affair, but it was Tormenta that held the upper hand from the opening minute.
All of the early chances went to Tormenta and the home side finally broke through in the 16th minute. Nil Vinyals unleashed a rocket from the top of the box. His shot was saved, but Jordan Walshaw got his foot on the keeper’s deflection immediately and found the net for the 1-0 advantage.
Just eight minutes later, Tormenta struck again.
Connor Antley charged up the right side of the Mutiny box and carved in a low cross just in front of the keeper. The hard pass found the foot of Ayao Sossou, who redirected the ball straight into the net for a 2-0 lead and his first goal in three seasons of play for Tormenta.
Tormenta nearly put things to bed early, but a penalty kick by Walshaw in the 37th minute was saved and the teams headed into the half with Tormenta holding its two-goal lead.
“Two goals can be dangerous,” Miglarese said. “If we get that penalty to go, maybe things end early. But Myrtle Beach is a good team. They kept fighting and we didn’t play our best in the second half. We were doing our best to keep up, but that was enough.”
As the Mutiny continued to press in the second half, they also got more aggressive with their tactics and pressed more players downfield. That forced Tormenta to go into defensive mode for much of the half, but one well-timed counter-attack made sure that the home team would walk away with three points.
In the 75th minute, Tormenta won a ball in the midfield and had numbers for an attack. Jacques Francois pressed deep into Mutiny territory and found Jad Arslan on a cross, which Arslan easily put away to seal the win.
With the victory, Tormenta remains in second place in the Deep South Division of the Southern Conference. Tormenta is a point behind Mississippi Brilla FC, but has played two fewer matches than Mississippi and is the only side in the division that hasn’t lost a match.
Tormenta will be back in action Wednesday as they host in-state rival Peachtree City MOBA, which is also in the hunt at the top of the division.
“We like defending our home turf,” Miglarese said. “We have another chance to do that coming up this week. And Peachtree City is the only team that we’ve dropped points against so far. It’s going to be a big one for us.”