USL League One’s favorite rivalry hits round number three tonight in Greenville, South Carolina, with much at stake for both sides. In this great “League of Parity”, one win can put your squad up in the driver’s seat, while one loss might land you in the back seat with that one kid in purple that you generally try to avoid when possible.
Tormenta could take the wheel with a win, thanks to the heroic efforts of Toronto FC II, who brought North Texas SC’s undefeated season to a grinding halt and made all non-Texan fans appreciate Canadians just a little bit more. For the Greenville Triumph, who are bogged down in the mire that is the middle of the League One table, a win could mean a lifeline that pulls them out and jumps them into a playoff position.
One team not worrying themselves with league positioning is Tormenta FC 2, who increased the gap at the top with another win on Friday night. Fans weren’t spoiled with yet another 4-0 scoreline, having to suffice with a 3-0 shutout instead against the two-years removed league champion Charlotte Eagles.
A true team performance, no Twomenta players had multiple goals or assists as the team found the net three times in the first third of the game. Charlotte posed an attacking threat not seen by Tormenta 2 this year in league play, testing the defense for the remaining 60 minutes. The scoreline ultimately held, putting Tormenta 2 at 4 straight wins with 4 clean sheets and +15 on goal differential.
There will hardly be time to catch a collective breath before a Sunday meeting with the Dalton Red Wolves, Twomenta’s newest Georgia opponent and League Two affiliate of Chattanooga Red Wolves. If anything was learned from Chattanooga’s Open Cup run, Dalton will be pressed to better their parent team’s 0-3 scoreline from their last visit to Statesboro.
Moving back to League One, Tormenta FC was unable to break through the Lansing Ignite defense led by goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland. The Tormenta defense continued to be rock solid despite the continued absences of Eckenrode and Saint-Vil, not allowing a single shot on goal and earning Josh Phelps Team of the Week honors. They now lead the league with 5 shutouts from their first 9 games. The team just couldn’t find its offensive groove in the match, and even adding an extra forward for a midfielder with the Mikie Rowe for Marco Micaletto substitution in the 67th minute failed to make any headway. The 0-0 score, while a point earned, was definitely not a satisfying one. Tormenta travels to Greenville looking to once more taste the sweetness of victory and pounce on any more dropped points by North Texas in their quest for the top.
Luckily, Greenville hasn’t had the brightest of results either. A last gasp winner by Chattanooga’s Eamon Zayed sent the Triumph back with a 1-0 loss despite a 15-4 shot advantage to the Greenville offense. The result leaves Greenville with one win in their last five games, however, they tend to get the better results at home, where each of their three league wins were earned.
A win was also earned there in the first round of the Open Cup, one which will be lurking around in the minds of Tormenta FC players. A 1-0 Triumph victory over South Georgia sent Tormenta out of the tournament and served as revenge for the inaugural game loss back in March. With the rivalry even at one apiece, Saturday presents both teams with a chance to break the tie. Advantageously for Tormenta FC, Greenville’s lackluster attack has scored a dead last 5 goals, at a 5% shot conversion rate that is less than half that of the next worst team.
Another fun stat: Tormenta averages a goal every 62 minutes. Greenville? 162 minutes. A worst attack-best defense match-up looks promising, but Greenville in part makes up for their offensive struggles by also having a high ranking defense, only conceded 6 goals this year. Players like goalkeeper Dallas Jaye, who was recently called up to the Guam international side for World Cup Qualifiers, and left back Tyler Polak, who leads the squad in both tackles and chances created, are crucial to the Triumph’s successes and have the potential to be game changers in this match.
Tormenta must improve on converting their chances from the Lansing match in order to test the Greenville defense. Redemption from Week 9 will be the goal for both sides as they push for a top-four playoff spot and local bragging rights.
Prediction: Greenville Triumph SC 0-2 South Georgia Tormenta FC
Greenville Triumph SC vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC
USL League One Regular Season
Legacy Early College, Greenville, South Carolina
Saturday, June 1, 7:00 P.M. EST
Watch on ESPN+ in U.S.; YouTube internationally