Three matches within the next week are all that remain of Tormenta FC’s 2020 season, a run that can only set the stage for whatever may come in the next year. A campaign filled with ups, downs, and some more downs reached the point of no return a week and a half ago against FC Tucson, where a 1-0 loss at home confirmed South Georgia’s elimination from a spot in the USL League One Final.
Despite the scoreline, Tormenta was not the one sitting back in this match. South Georgia outshot and outpassed the Arizona side, and kept 56% of the ball. Quality chances were created, too— 11 of the 17 shots came within the 18 yard box, many on target but denied by Tucson goalkeeper Carlos Merancio. Instead, it was a curler from Tucson’s Giovanni Godoy from outside the box in the 33rd minute that decided the victors.
Tormenta’s inability to finish was punishing once more as the Statesboro team suffered a second straight shutout, the last being a 3-0 loss in Omaha. The creative pieces are present in Marco Micaletto, Luca Mayr, and Stefan Mueller, among others, but the group’s failure to convert those chances is felt in games like this. As spectacular as Micaletto’s bicycle attempt in the 79th minute was, the more basic shots from close range not finding the net is what has let the team down in their recent results.
With one win the last five matches, Tormenta has dropped to 10th in the league, only above the soon to be departing Orlando City B. Now ten days removed from the Tucson match, South Georgia travels up to Richmond, Virginia to play the second place Kickers, who will be aiming to lock down that second place spot and earn a meeting with the Greenville Triumph in the October 30th final. City Stadium in Richmond hasn’t been a fortress this season though, as a 4-0 loss to Revolution II back on October 3rd would point out. However, the Kickers do posses the league’s Golden Boot leader in Emiliano Terzaghi with 10 goals, someone who can hurt Tormenta especially if they get caught chasing this one.
In South Georgia’s favor, the long awaited return of captain Lars Eckenrode from injury will add strength at center back as he makes his first appearance since April 2019. The defender was sidelined four games into last season with a yearlong injury, and suffered another injury just before the start of this one. Luca Mayr is also listed as questionable on the injury report, leaving a spot to fill up top if he does not start tonight.
Will Tormenta play spoiler to Richmond’s championship hopes? Or do they leave Virginia with another loss to add to a frustrating year? We’ll find out tonight as the final run of the season begins.
Prediction: Richmond Kickers 2-1 Tormenta FC
South Georgia Tormenta FC at Richmond Kickers
USL League One Regular Season, Week 14
City Stadium, Richmond, Virginia
Saturday, October 17th, 2020, 6:30 P.M. EST