Jad Arslan notched a hat trick against Peachtree City MOBA in Tormenta's win over its in-state rival last weekend.
Arslan likely spent the week running through the nightmares of MOBA players throughout the week as a rematch loomed Saturday evening in metro Atlanta. Indeed, those bad dreams turned into a reality as Arslan scored once more to push Tormenta ahead early en route to a 2-0 victory over Peachtree City.
"I thought we played very well, and we had to in order to get this win," said Tormenta coach Jorge Gonzalez. "Winning two straight on the road is challenging enough, but to do it against the same team — that's not something you get a chance to do often."
Arslan resumed his role as perpetual thorn in MOBA's side in the 37th minute.
Jamie Merriam used some fancy footwork to get through a pair of defenders while making a run into the box. Just before he was pinched off, Merriam slid the ball to his left to find a wide open Arslan who easily blasted a shot past the keeper to get the scoring started.
"Getting the first one is always big," Tormenta midfielder Reed Norton said. "It was a great play to watch develop and it gave us the momentum."
While goals have come in bunches at times for Tormenta this season, Saturday's win required a bit more effort from the defense. Tormenta controlled the ball and the pace of play for the majority of the match, but Peachtree City was the aggressor for nearly 10 minutes of the first half and manufactured a few more chances in the final 45 minutes of play.
Even when MOBA possessed the ball well into Tormenta territory, good chances were hard to come by. South Georgia's back line was solid throughout the game and Matt Rosenberg saved the only two threatening shots he faced in botching his fifth clean sheet of the season.
"I think the entire back line was solid all night," Tormenta defender Ayou Sossou said. "We controlled the middle and pushed them outside all night. Our offense was able to find those shots from the middle to make the difference."
Peachtree City recorded one of its few shots on goal in the 57th minute, but the tables were immediately turned.
Tormenta head coach John Miglarese insisted during the team's early struggles that things would eventually click. Following Rosenberg's save, a quick outlet pass was followed by four more that traversed the length of the field — crossing and re-centering along the way — before Arslan found the net again.
The strike was called back for offsides but served as a testament to the well-oiled machine that Tormenta has become.
"If you don't know soccer, you might not notice, since it was called back," Gonzalez said. "But that was a really pretty run. Everyone was running together and worked down the field. If it had counted, that would have been one of the better goals you'll see."
The offside call kept the Tormenta lead at a fragile 1-0, but Mikie Rowe — who netted two goals of his own in last weekend's win over MOBA — found room near the top of the box on the left side and drove a shot into the right side of the net in the 72nd minute.
"I think that one really put the nail in it," Rowe said.
When asked if the seven combined goals from he and Arslan earned them privileges on the ride home, he was also quick to spread the wealth.
"We've had a lot of guys step up," Rowe said. "It's been me and Jad for two games, but it was Jamie before that and our defense too."
With the win, Tormenta remains in the chase for a berth in the PDL Eastern Conference playoffs.
Tormenta comes home and has a week of rest before hosting the Tri-Cities Otters July 15 in the regular season finale.
The two sides have met twice already this season, with each team recording a 1-0 home victory.