After five consecutive victories, one of the hottest teams in the Premier Development League finally cooled off a bit.
South Georgia Tormenta FC conceded a pair of goals within the first 10 minutes and – despite playing much better the rest of the way – fell to Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors 2-1 Saturday evening in Bluefield, W.V.
“This was a bit disappointing for us,” Tormenta coach Ben Freakley said.”You always expect to win and that’s not how things went tonight. It had been awhile since we weren’t playing from out in front and we weren’t able to come back.”
Tormenta racked up over 400 consecutive scoreless minutes during its winning streak, but has now allowed four goals in its past three halves of action.
The Warriors – looking to avenge a last-minute loss in Statesboro from last month – wasted no time in gaining the upper hand. Fresh off of the opening kick, Sam Blackmon found Josh Phelps, who beat South Georgia keeper Alex Guerra for a 1-0 advantage in the first minute.
Before the shock of the early strike had a chance to wear off, Southern West Virginia doubled its lead as Gui Muchado found the back of the net in the 8th minute of play.
“You have to give them credit. They came to play and made things happen,” Freakley said.”We were on our back foot early, and all of the sudden, we’re down 2-0. I thought we played well from there, but that wasn’t enough to get the win.”
Tormenta dug in after finding itself in the early hole, but wasn’t able to do much to get back into contention. South Georgia couldn’t capitalize on a handful of promising crosses and set pieces, and Freakley noted that more focus was needed in the final minutes as things turned chippy while Tormenta searched for a spark.
The biggest bright spot on the night for South Georgia was the first goal for James Brighton. As the youngest member of the Tormenta – and also a member of Freakley’s U16 Storm Soccer Academy club – Brighton has played well beyond his years against the mostly collegiate makeup of the PDL and finally found the score sheet as he buried a penalty kick into the right side of the net in the 90th minute to make sure that Tormenta at least made a dent on the scoreboard.
With just four games remaining in its inaugural season, Tormenta still has a shot at the playoffs. South Georgia could go a long way toward making those postseason dreams a reality with a strong showing during its final homestand this week. Tormenta will host the Tri-Cities Otters Thursday before welcoming the South Atlantic Division-leading Charlotte Eagles Saturday night.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.