2020 has not gone the way South Georgia Tormenta FC would have liked. Really, this statement is near universal at the moment, but pandemic aside— this season has turned out below most observers’ lofty, but not unreachable, expectations. 2 wins in 10 games, mediocre goal scoring numbers, and unimpressive defensive stats have brought Tormenta sliding down the table as other teams catch up to their front-loaded schedule.
With odds of finishing in the top 2 for a spot in the USL League One Final down to a fraction of a percent, a club might try to weather it out, to minimize the damage, hunker down, and wait (hope, pray) for a normal 2021 season. But you won’t see that in Statesboro. In the past couple weeks, Tormenta have brought in reinforcements: Tunde Akinlosotu, a forward from George Mason and FC Baltimore Christos; Curtis Thorn, a key component of Tormenta 2’s backline from 2019 making the jump up to the pros; Paul Lewis, on loan from Charleston Battery to fill depleted goalkeeper depth. New players likely won’t bring some miraculous jump to the top of the table with only six games left, but they can start to make an impact as soon as possible and finish the year strong, with an eye towards next season where they can hit the ground running once more.
Last Friday brought as tough a test as you can ask, an undefeated Union Omaha coming to town, keen on making the playoffs in their first year of existence.
Unfazed, Tormenta pressed high, and were rewarded early in the match as a turnover fell to the feet of Marco Micaletto, who sprang Luca Mayr through for the 11th minute opener. Just over ten minutes later, Tormenta broke through again with Lucas Coutinho playing a ball ahead of Jad Arslan, whose shot ricocheted off the post and into a failed clearance attempt by Omaha’s keeper into the back of the net. Halftime, and a 2-0 lead had South Georgia flying high... maybe even too high.
Three Omaha subs at halftime brought with them a shift in momentum, and the ‘dangerous lead’ cliche began to look its part. Corner kick mayhem in the 70th minute brought the first, and a long distance rip in the 81st evened the score for the visiting Owls. A disappointing 2-2 draw, and Tormenta fell once more in the standings.
Again, there was no sitting back from South Georgia Tormenta. On Wednesday, the club announced a restructuring of its technical staff, Head Coach John Miglarese, who led the team since its second season in 2017, moves into the role of Technical Director and Vice President of Soccer Performance. In his place goes Ian Cameron, formerly an assistant coach for Tormenta and head coach for Tormenta 2 in USL League Two. Cameron joined the club last year to lead Tormenta FC 2 in their first season, and lead them he did. Semi-pro Tormenta 2 caused an upset in the first round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup, taking care of pro side Chattanooga Red Wolves 3-0. Twomenta went on to win the Deep South Division and advance to the National Semifinals, earning Cameron a spot on the first team coaching staff in addition to the Tormenta 2 role. Now, he’ll get his first go at managing a pro team tonight in Ft. Lauderdale.
Tormenta’s last meeting with Ft. Lauderdale CF, Inter Miami’s 2 team, caught the attention of many in the soccer world... but not for a very flattering reason.
They’ll be looking to avenge that 2-1 defeat from last month, but it won’t come easy. Coached by Jason Kreis, Ft. Lauderdale isn’t all academy products and youngsters, featuring recent MLS players like Eduardo Sosa and Servando Carrasco along with players on loan from the first team and the highlighted above Ricky Lopez-Espin, who sits second in the league’s Golden Boot race.
Tormenta will be relying on the creative ability of Marco Micaletto, who leads the league in chances created with 26. He’ll need help finishing those chances, however, a role which hasn’t been consistently established so far. The squad will also need to prove itself in defense, as they have not produced a clean sheet in the last seven matches. The Josh Phelps-Jordan Skelton duo along with the central midfield and fullbacks will need to hold strong for the entire match as to avoid a situation similar to last week. Ft. Lauderdale isn’t impossible to beat, but they aren’t your standard pushover 2 team either.
A new coach, new players, is this where Tormenta begins its climb back up? We’ll find out tonight.
Ft. Lauderdale CF
Prediction: Ft. Lauderdale 1-2 Tormenta FC
South Georgia Tormenta FC at Ft. Lauderdale CF
USL League One Regular Season, Week 10
Inter Miami CF Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Saturday, September 19th, 2020, 8:00 P.M. EST