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Tormenta takes aim at title
Tormenta FC
Tormenta's Yaya Cisse, bottom, is mobbed by teammates Josh Phelps, top, and Jad Arslan after scoring a goal in the second half of a May 19 game against the Tri-Cities Otters at Erk Russell Athletic Park in Statesboro. Tormenta needs just three points over its final four matches to clinch the Deep South Division championship. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff


When the first names trickled out about who would be making up the 2018 Tormenta FC roster, head coach John Miglarese was coy.


“We’ve got good players,” Miglarese said. “And no matter what our final roster looks like, we’re going to expect to win and to compete for a championship.”


When Tormenta got off to a hot start and figured to challenge for its first-ever Premier Development League playoff appearance, the demeanor of the squad’s leader didn’t change much.


“We’ve got a long way to go,” Miglarese said after a midseason victory. “We have big plans for where we want to be, but the best way to get there is by focusing on one game at a time.”


But now Tormenta - because of all its success - has nowhere left to run. Its destiny is front and center for anyone to see. All platitudes and team-building aphorisms aside, three more points over the final four matches of the season will punch Tormenta’s first postseason ticket.


Faced with such an unrelenting optimistic outlook on the future, Miglarese is still trying to keep his squad grounded while acknowledging what can be done in the coming days.


“The fact is that we’re on the road, and it’s always tough to win those games,” Miglarese said. “We know what we have to do to win the division. But we also know that each game will be tough. So our focus is on the first one. If we don’t get things done there, it will only get tougher as we move ahead.”


The first match of a four-game road trip to end the regular season comes tonight at the Birmingham Hammers. Tormenta recorded a 4-1 home win over the Hammers in late June, but Birmingham is still a force to be reckoned with in the top half of the Deep South Division.


Tonight’s kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Fans can visit tormentafc.com to find a live stream link and a viewing party will also be held at The Clubhouse in Statesboro.


Following tonight’s game, Tormenta will stay on the road as it prepares for a Saturday showdown with Mississippi Brilla FC. Mississippi led the division for the first month and is the only team remaining that can challenge Tormenta for the division title. 


“It’s a challenge, but we like the challenge,” Tormenta midfielder Mikie Rowe said. “It won’t be easy on the road, but we embrace that kind of challenge. To be the best at the end, you’re going to have to win on the road against good teams, so we look at this as a chance to grow as a team and a chance to win the division like we set out to do.”