It seems like the soccer gods do have a sense of humor after all. In the past week, South Georgia Tormenta FC teams have been forced to manage around daily thunderstorms, resulting in two games cancelled and one moved down the road to Savannah. This weekend, however, there will be no tormentas in Tormenta’s way as Orlando City B travels to Statesboro to try to accomplish what their parent team has never done- win a match on Georgian soil.
Thunderstorms threw a wrench into last Saturday’s proceedings, pushing Tormenta’s home meeting with Chattanooga back to August 21st and cutting time from the valuable bye week before playing league leaders North Texas that next week. The rain also made the pitch unplayable for the Tormenta 2 match against League Two division leaders SC United Bantams, resulting in a venue change to the turf field at Calvary Day in Savannah. Despite dominating the attacking play, Twomenta was shutout for the first time all season, falling 2-0 to the Bantams and becoming their sixth straight victim. Tormenta FC 2 still clings to second, and will pay a visit to Rock Hill, South Carolina and Discoveries SC to keep that position.
Now, the rainout didn’t come without any silver lining. We were at least still treated to the starting lineups (big ups to FotMob for that), and the Tormenta players were treated to a surprise bye week to be more prepared for this weekend’s game. On the flip side, OCB enjoyed a nice double game week with a side of U.S. Open Cup for one lucky player, which should leave them less than 100% fit for the away trip. This gives a bit of an advantage to a Tormenta attack that hasn’t seen a ball touch the inside netting in nearly a month’s time, and is thirsting for a spark to get back to scoring. The defense will also be looking to add to the clean sheet streak, although holding midfielder Ricardo Gomez is still serving his suspension due to the rainout and will not be available.
Despite the fatigue, the visitors seem to have recovered from their stumble off the starting blocks in League One. The Young Lions were riding a five game unbeaten streak prior to their midweek loss to FC Tucson, nudging their way out of the wooden spoon lead and staying in playoff contention. The streak was guided by emerging talents in Thiago Souza, the Week 11 Player of the Week for his goal and assist against Madison, and Rafael Santos, winner of back to back Goals of the Week. Neither of the two midfielders started against Tucson on Wednesday, making them even more threatening for the Tormenta back line. OCB leads the league in the shots taken category, but their 12% conversion rate does not do them any favors in regard to actually finishing those shots. They also lead in the goals conceded category, something that should catch the eyes of the forwards in blue and magenta.
The two teams have seen each other before, playing in Montverde, Florida in mid-April to a 1-1 draw thanks to last second heroics by Tormenta defender Lars Eckenrode, whose diving header gave him both a goal and concussion that has kept him sidelined since. I think the Week 3 result came from an underestimation of OCB, after they had been swept aside to start the season. Tormenta will need full focus this time if they are to catch up to the wonderkid factory that is the FC Dallas academy in North Texas SC, and hopefully will result in some fathering before Father’s Day.
Orlando City B:
Prediction: Tormenta FC 2-1 Orlando City B
South Georgia Tormenta FC vs. Orlando City B
USL League One Regular Season
Erk Russell Park, Statesboro, Georgia
Saturday, June 15th, 8:00 P.M. EST
Watch on ESPN+ in U.S.; YouTube internationally