Match Recap: MOBA Start Pre-Season Off Strong, Beat Georgia Revolution FC 3-0
The pre-season in any sport, including soccer, is used to test the waters of your players, and see how they handle live game scenarios. The coaches are watching for the best performers, and the players are looking to give their best performances in order to make the game day eighteen. Teams are given a number of weeks to warm up and work together as a unit, but the real showing is in the live action friendlies before the season begins. MOBA's pre-season schedule features three matches, two against Georgia Revolution FC and one against Pumas. April 29th marked the first of those three, as Peachtree City travelled to Hampton, Georgia for their first friendly against the Revs.
Last season's matchup saw these two teams compete for the full ninety minutes before a late winner was scored and sealed the victory for the Revs 2-1. Following the team's move to a new park, MOBA looked to get even with their crosstown rivals as they prepared for their new campaign. Playing several back-ups, including goalkeeper Nick Nelson, alongside a few potential game one starters, such as Todd Fidler and Santiago Moore, MOBA head coach Volker Harms looked to prove to the football world that his squad could compete no matter who was out on the pitch. Upon the 7:40 kickoff, Peachtree City was immediately on the front foot, winning a number of tackles, and finding themselves in position to score on several different occasions. After finally piercing the Revs' defense, MOBA won a few free kicks around the box, but the Revs' goalkeeper Bryce Billington held his own in the net, stopping shot after shot. When it seemed like the opening goal was still far off, Peachtree City won a free kick off a late challenge just a yard outside the box, and energy drained from the home fans. Stepping up to the ball was forward Santiago Moore, who, in the 20th minute, placed the ball far post just out of reach of Billington, and MOBA took a 1-0 lead.
One of the main struggles of the Peachtree City squad in 2016 was their response to scoring goals. Throughout the year, the opposing side would strike back almost immediately following a MOBA goal as the defense would let up and leave gaps for the enemy strikers. This year needed to be different, and this was their first test. Following the kickoff, MOBA needed to keep the intensity and pressure high, and that is exactly what they did. The midfielders and defenders for the yellow and black continued to pester the Revs, winning ball after ball and get MOBA back on the front foot, and that would pay dividends. As the first half was drawing to a close, MOBA won the ball at midfield, and it was played up to Moore, who took a quick shot that ricocheted off the keeper and right back to Santi's feet, and he stroked it expertly off the rebound into the net for his second goal of the match. At the end of one half, Peachtree City looked like a completely new team; they pressed, they passed, they tackled, they did everything the way it needed to be done and were rewarded with a 2-0 halftime lead.
It almost always is difficult to keep up the same pressure in the second half that a team had in the first, but that did not prove to be an issue for PTC. Right out of the gates, the visiting team kept up the attack on the home side, and it would quickly payoff. On a well-built attack for Peachtree City, the MOBA attackers caught the keeper by surprise and got into the box quickly, and just when the keeper expected a near-post shot, the ball went to the opposite side, as MOBA's #10 Todd Fidler took a strike to the far-post in the 47th minute and put the away side up 3-0. Following the goal, the Revs found themselves desperate for a response, and turned their midfielders for an all out attack. It worked, to an extent, as they found themselves with the ball in their attacking third, but the shots they took just could not find the net, as they continued to go both high and wide. The home side found themselves with a real chance to get back into the game, as they had a free kick just outside the box in the 51st minute, but Luke Oesterle, who had subbed on at the half for Nick Nelson who had started the match, made a diving save and knocked the ball out for a corner kick, which ultimately could not find its target. Play went back and forth for a long while, but late in the match Georgia just ran out of energy, and the remaining fifteen minutes were played mostly in MOBA's attacking third. As the final whistle blew, Peachtree City found themselves on top, 3-0, for the first time since June 22nd of 2016.
While the results don't count toward a team's point total, the pre-season friendlies still hold great importance, as they show what kind of depth the squad has, and how they handle in-game scenarios. With one win in the bag, MOBA can move forward with confidence as they head home for the first time to take on the Revs in a rematch at MOBA Soccer Academy. If you were unable to attend the away leg, be sure to make it out for the home leg Wednesday, May 3rd at 7:30 PM. Admission is free, and we need a packed house for the team's first ever match in the new stadium. Come out and support the hometown yellow and black!