During the first home game in Tormenta FC franchise history, just about everything went perfectly.
Well… Everything but the final score.
Tormenta dropped a 3-0 decision to the Carolina Dynamo to drop to 0-1-1 in their inaugural season, but an overflowing crowd of 3.105 seemed to treat the outcome as a growing pain for the brand new team rather than a letdown.
“I’m so impressed and appreciative of everyone who came out and made this such an exciting night,” Tormenta coach Ben Freakley said. “Our guys are disappointed in the outcome and I know they’re especially heartbroken that they couldn’t do better for such a great crowd.”
Brandt Bornico scored following a defensive miscue by Tormenta in the ninth minute and the Dynamo poured in two second half goals to run away with the win.
Bornico capitalized after a seemingly harmless ball played to Tormenta’s backline was mishandled. Bornico gained possession just outside the 18-yard box with only Tormenta goalkeeper Anton Widen in front of him and was able to find the left side of the net for the opening strike.
Tormenta played with more urgency in the second half and was able to create some scoring opportunities, but an aggressive Carolina defense and constant leaping breakups by Dynamo keeper Ryan Cretens kept Tormenta off the scoreboard for the second straight match.
“(Carolina) had a very big back line,” Freakley said. “When you play direct at a defense like that, you aren’t going to get many breaks. We have guys that can serve the ball in well and we were able to start playing wide to them, but weren’t able to break through.”
The Tormenta defense shored up over the final 45 minutes, save for a pair of quick strikes that put the Dynamo over the top.
Bornico victimized Tormenta again in the 62nd minute with a perfectly placed corner kick that was headed into the goal by Daniel Mucuna. Carolina put the finishing touches on its win in the 86th minute when Tah Brian Anunga turned on a shot from 20 yards out and sent a low, hard shot bounding across the box and into the lower left corner of the Tormenta goal.
“They were just able to create more opportunities,” Freakley said. “When they got on the ball, they were tough and always moving forward. They definitely deserved everything they got.”
Tormenta played hard until the end and the hometown crowd followed their cue. Even additional seating brought into Eagle Field wasn’t enough to accommodate everyone who passed through the gate, but hundreds of fans were content to stand along the sidelines and end lines, even creating a few chants to spur on the club.
Live music before the game welcomed fans into the stadium while Tormenta gear was flying out of the merchandise tents and ‘VIP’ season ticket holders took advantage of food, drinks and up-close spectator spots behind the south goal.
Members of Savannah’s Storm Soccer Academy – the youth affiliate of Tormenta – also showed up en masse and were paraded in front of the capacity crowd at halftime.
Even Mother Nature did her part as a passing pregame storm – the English word for tormenta – cleared before kickoff while leaving behind a rainbow backdrop as the teams hit the field.
With the emotions of the first road and home matches in franchise history now in the past, Tormenta has two weeks to gear up for its next test – a home date against fellow Georgia club Peachtree City.
“We know what we have to do to improve,” Freakley said. “We talked about not letting one game – good or bad – define us. We want our process to define us. We’ll get back at it and be ready for the next game.”
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.