Since the inception of USL League One, South Georgia Tormenta FC has been at the front of the line for many of the league’s milestones. Tormenta was the first team accepted into the league, as well as the first to sign a player.
And now Tormenta has the newly-created professional league’s first ever victory.
A sellout crowd of 3,519 filled up Erk Russell Park and went home happy as Tormenta topped Greenville Triumph SC with a 1-0 victory Friday night.
“It was a great night that we’ve been building up to for a long time,” Tormenta coach John Miglarese said. “I don’t think we played our best game, but we played hard all night. I kind of blocked out the crowd and I’m not sure if I realized how many were here. Then we scored, and you just heard everyone erupt.”
Despite a scoreless first half, there was plenty of action and drama. Greenville was able to force three corner kicks over the first 45 minutes and Tormenta nearly found the net when Charlie Dennis’ perfect through ball found Marco Micaletto, only to see Greenville keeper Dallas Jaye.
The back-and-forth struggle continued well into the second half before the home side finally broke through.
After forcing a Greenville turnover, a few quick passes sprung Micaletto loose up the left sideline. The Tormenta midfielder stepped through one tackle and forced Greenville’s final man back to slide toward him while also drawing Jaye off his line. Micaletto then crossed to a streaking Alex Morrell at the top of the box and Morrell sent a shot screaming into the top of the net for the first League One goal and the eventual game-winner.
“It went about as easy as it could,” Morrell said. “Marco was doing great work to get up the field. I just made my run and trusted him. He made a great pass and then I just had to finish it.”
Morrell’s goal gave Tormenta the momentum, but Greenville never gave up the fight.
The Triumph made multiple substitutions over the final 20 minutes and launched multiple dangerous attacks as they attempted to level the score. Greenville’s best chance of the night came when a loose ball ended up on the foot of Aaron Walker inside the Tormenta six-yard box. Walker shot to the far post as Tormenta keeper Pablo Jara dove to the near post, but Jara was able to throw out a foot and make a kick save.
Greenville continued the offensive pressure, but couldn’t find another scoring chance before one final clearance by the Tormenta defense brought about the final whistle.
“Right after the goal, we kept up our momentum,” Miglarese said. “But we got back on our heels towards the end. Luckily, we made enough plays to get the win and we did it against a quality team. When Greenville is controlling the play like they did at times tonight, they’re going to be very tough to beat.”
With the victory, Tormenta kept up its reputation for defending its home turf. Tormenta hasn’t dropped a regular season match at Erk Russell Park since May of 2017. The streak will have a chance to grow even more as Tormenta welcomes Tucson FC to town on April 3 for its second match of the season.