A month's worth of close calls has finally given way to a full-blown party. Tormenta FC won its first game Thursday night during its fifth contest of the season, taking down the division-leading Charlotte Eagles. On Saturday, Tormenta proved that its first win was no fluke as it again took care of business on the road — this time securing a 1-0 win over the Carolina Dynamo in Greensboro, N.C.
"I was jumping for joy on the sideline," team owner and president Darin Van Tassell said. "As of the latest rankings, the two teams we just beat were in the top-10 (in the Premier Development League). That shows how quickly things are coming along for us.
For a fourth consecutive game, Tormenta's solid defense held its opponent scoreless throughout the first half.
Locked up at 0-0 and sensing the chance to avenge a 3-0 loss to the Dynamo suffered in May, Tormenta finally broke through early in the second half.
The Tormenta forward line got the Dynamo on its heels in the 47th minute of action and found space just outside of the 18-yard box. A shot beat the Carolina keeper, but found the left goalpost. Not to let the woodword become the same enemy it had been in the last home contest, Tormenta's Nico Rittmeyer needed just one touch to send the carom off the post into the back of the net.
"That was a great feeling," said Ritmeyer, who had two goals called off due to offside flags in a June 11 loss. "Our defense has been playing great. I think we all knew that the momentum would come when we finally started to score."
Rittmeyer's strike was the only goal of the game, but it was far from the only action.
As the game wore on, the Dynamo began to press against an opponent that had much more fight than the Tormenta team it had easily beaten just three weeks ago.
The Tormenta defense held up even when things got rough. Goalkeeper Anton Widen came to the rescue with a sprawling save in the 68th minute and a pair of Tormenta players picked up yellow cards over the final 10 minutes of play to keep Carolina scoreless.
"It's just confidence. Everyone is playing with a lot of confidence," Tormenta defender Peyton Ericson said. "We've really grown during our short time together. Everyone has started playing together as a unit and that has everyone feeling comfortable.
"We've been working hard at every practice to come together as a team. That's starting to happen and it's starting to show in the score."
Tormenta entered this weekend's road trip with an 0-3-1 mark and seemed to be a great cautionary tale for how difficult it is to succeed as an upstart franchise. After two wins against the top two teams in the division, Tormenta is quickly out of the division cellar and is now looking like the immediate threat they hoped to be.