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Tormenta topples Tucson
Three-goal barrage wipes out early deficit
Tormenta FC
Fans cheer as Tormenta FC's Marco Micaletto (10) leaps into the stands to get a hug from his mother Gerardina, center, after scoring the third goal of the night in Wednesday's 3-1 victory over FC Tucson at Erk Russell Park. The Micalettos hail from Rome, Italy, and Gerardina was visiting from the UK, where she now resides, to see her son play. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT

South Georgia Tormenta FC kept right on rolling in its second professional contest, topping Tucson FC by a count of 3-1 Wednesday night at Erk Russell Park.

Tormenta spent all of last week notching firsts in the new USL League One, claiming the first hosted match, first goal and first victory in league history.

After a scoreless opening half on Wednesday, Tormenta had to deal with its first deficit after Tucson’s Devin Vega buried a free kick into the right side of the net in the 55th minute of play.

And then Tormenta went to work.

Just over a minute later, Mikie Rowe worked the ball all the way downfield for Tormenta. Rowe dropped the ball back to Connor Antley, who made a run into the right side of the box before sliding a centering pass that left a wide open net for Lucas Coutinho, who drove home his first professional goal.

“We were challenged and responded right away,” Coutinho said. “That shows the character of this team. Expect us to respond every time.”

Not content with the leveled score, Tormenta struck again before its fans had finished celebrating the first goal.

Forward Alex Morrell scored the game-winner in last week’s season opener and was on the spot for the go-ahead strike against Tucson. Antley was again on the delivering end, sending a low and hard pass nearly 40 yards forward as Morrell broke past the Tucson back line. With the ball at his feet, Morrell side-stepped the Tucson keeper and easily slid in a goal for a 2-1 advantage.

The pair of quick strikes had Tucson reeling and Tormenta delivered the knockout punch shortly after.

Marco Micaletto — who led Tormenta with four goals in 2018 — came on as a substitute in the 68th minute of play. The explosive midfielder put his stamp on the game just moments later as he charged up the right side and into the box before carving a left-footed shot into the net for a 74th-minute strike that gave Tormenta plenty of breathing room.

Following the goal, Micaletto charged to the sideline and bounded over the promotional boards to share a hug with some very special fans.

“My parents have been here for the first two games,” said Micaletto, who came to America via stints in England and his native Italy. “They’ve done so much for me. It means so much that they were able to see my first professional goal.”

With Tucson sufficiently stunned by the quick barrage of goals, Tormenta easily rode out the final 15 minutes to claim the win and move to 2-0 in League One competition.

Tormenta has held serve in two home matches, but now gets its first test as a professional squad in dealing with an extended road trip. Tormenta travels to Richmond for a Saturday evening kickoff and will return to Statesboro for training next week before hitting the road again for matches against Orlando City B, Chattanooga Red Wolves and a return match at Tucson.

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