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Tormenta still searching for a spark
Pablo Jara
Tormenta FC goalkeeper Pablo Jara sends a goal kick downfield during Saturday's match against Greenville SC at Erk Russell Park in Statesboro.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so the proverbial saying goes. The same holds for a winning soccer club, and while Tormenta FC’s form has stagnated of late, the organization itself has not, continuing to work on shifting a complex contraption of players, coaches, staff, and many other variables into the correct gear. 

It’s still a work in progress, as evidenced by the past weekend’s game against the Greenville Triumph. Things started about as well as one can hope when up against the reigning league champion and currently unbeaten Triumph, with the Tormenta defense not allowing a single shot on target from the visitors. South Georgia nearly took full advantage of the team’s effort with a well executed corner kick routine in the 35th minute. Forward Azaad Liadi found enough space from the side of the penalty area to fire off a rocket of a shot, one that Greenville’s Dallas Jaye could only just get a fingertip to. That was enough, though, to send it crashing off the crossbar and away to keep the game scoreless.

In the second half, it was Tormenta goalkeeper Pablo Jara’s turn to make the highlight reel, and he did so quickly, making two great saves within the first ten minutes. Greenville kept up the momentum they came out of the locker room with, though, and found a breakthrough in the form of a curling strike just out of Jara’s reach to cap off a counter attack 71 minutes into the game. Tormenta would be unable to form a comeback effort against the stout Greenville defense, and the final whistle closed a hard fought, but nonetheless disappointing result.

Tormenta are continuing to search for the winning recipe, and have recently brought another ingredient into the mix to help make it a reality. Last Friday, the team added experienced (but still only 26 years old) midfielder Vicenzo Candela to the roster. The Colombian-Italian-American has amassed a resume with teams from three different continents, first in Europe with teams in Portugal, Germany, and Belgium, then returning to Colombia, and finally the United States, where he’s played since 2018. In the U.S., he played a key role in the midfield of the Charleston Battery in the USL Championship for two years, then last year for the New York Cosmos of the National Independent Soccer Association. The well travelled player will help bring some veteran calm to the young Tormenta roster who will need to keep focused if they are to get themselves unstuck.

They’ll get their next chance to do so this weekend at home once more, playing Forward Madison FC out of Wisconsin. Madison are still a bit of an unknown, having only gotten through three of this season’s games so far compared to Tormenta’s six, but will not be underestimated by the South Georgians. Last year’s sole meeting between the two, played under strange quarantine circumstances that led to Tormenta defender Lars Eckenrode filling in as head coach, ended 4-0 to Madison, Tormenta’s worst defeat of the year. 

With revenge on their mind and reinforcements in the squad, is this where South Georgia Tormenta’s rebound begins? We’ll find out Saturday at 7 p.m. at Erk Russell Park.