South Georgia Tormenta FC entered Wednesday night with a perfect 5-0-0 record in home matches. The 'home' field moved down the road from Erk Russell Park in Statesboro to Calvary Day in Savannah, but the perfect mark remained the same as Tormenta defeated SC United Bantams by a score of 2-1.
With the victory, Tormenta notched its eighth consecutive victory, remained as one of just four Premier Development League teams in the nation with an unbeaten mark and — most importantly — extended its lead to five points in the Deep South Division.
"There were a lot of places where we weren't at our best, but we got it done," Tormenta coach John Miglarese said. "It was a grind the whole way."
Looking to beat the Bantams for the third time this season, Tormenta wasted no time in pulling ahead.
In the 11th minute, Toni Soler dropped a perfect corner kick right in front of the United goal and Callum Chapman-Page rose up above the fray to send a header into the back of the net.
From there, the play was a bit choppy. Playing on what was essentially the dimensions of a football field, there was considerably less length and width to the field than normal.
"That definitely affects us," Miglarese said. "You want to possess the ball and that can make things different when you're looking to move it around."
Tormenta nursed its slim lead through halftime before starting out strong once again in the second half.
Nil Vinyals spent much of his night dominating play for Tormenta in the midfield. He made his biggest mark of the match in the 56th minute when he slotted in a perfect pass to Mikie Rowe, who then finished things off for a 2-0 lead.
Rowe's strike proved to be necessary to keeping the winning streak alive.
Tormenta has notched four clean sheets this season and looked well on its way to a fifth, but Liam Ireland beat Tormenta keeper Pablo Jara with a high shot in the 59th minute to pull the Bantams within a goal.
"(SC United) is tough," Miglarese said. "They're a good team and they never make it easy on us. I think we could have had an easier time if we had done some things better on our end, but we'll take the three points anytime."
With the win, Tormenta now sits firmly in the driver's seat of its division and controls its own destiny as it looks for its first ever trip to the PDL playoffs.
Tormenta is five points up on Mississippi Brilla FC with five to play. The squad can take another step closer to the postseason and can clinch a perfect home recod for the season when they host the defending PDL national champion Charlotte Eagles Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Erk Russell Park.