Match Preview: Inter-Conference Foes MOBA, Brilla FC Battle in Peachtree City Home Opener
Some of the best games in sports history feature two teams from different divisions and conferences going head to head. Falcons and Patriots in Super Bowl LI (it still hurts). Warriors and Cavs in game 7 of the NBA Finals. Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC in the 2016 MLS Cup Final. Sometimes geographic distance proves to be great for some teams, as the separation between two clubs allows for a clash of cultures in what can be a historic matchup. During MOBA's inaugural campaign, Peachtree City met Mississippi Brilla FC twice, once in the season opener and again on match day twelve. The series proved to be an exciting one, as Peachtree City and Mississippi proved to be worthy adversaries early on. MOBA's Alex Rotoloni scored the first goal in the opener, but Brilla struck back with two goals late to propel the home side to victory. In Peachtree City, it was Casey Shultis who found the net beautifully in the twenty-seventh minute before Newton Henry struck back right before halftime, and the match ended 1-1. 2017 looks to be even better, as MOBA is looking to keep the ball rolling following Thursday's draw, however Mississippi Brilla FC hope to kick their season off strong by stealing three points on the road.
Thursday night's matchup between South Georgia Tormenta FC and Peachtree City MOBA held a lot of emotion for the away side. Coming a 6-1 loss in Nashville, MOBA had to get back on their feet, however a thirty-seventh minute goal from Michael Rowe threatened Peachtree City's chances. Having faced adversity before, MOBA knew what needed to change if they hoped to escape Statesboro with a point. Immediately following halftime, midfielder Matthew Wooling played a beauty into the box off a set piece, and Daniel Valenciano headed it far post, beating Tormenta keeper Keegan Meyer and evening the score at one. The battling continued, however no victor could be named, and the match ended in a 1-1 draw, MOBA's first point of the 2017 campaign. Happy to have at least gotten the point, Peachtree City finally makes the trip back home to play their first regular season game at MOBA Soccer Academy, however Brilla have their sights set on ruining the homecoming.
Coming off a 4-6-4 season in 2016 that earned them third on the division table, Brilla FC have a lot to improve on going forward, starting with scoring. During the fourteen game season, Brilla only scored fourteen goals, including seven one-goal games and four shutouts. The defense, as good as it was, only conceding twenty goals on the year, could only do so much to defend their small leads, as they gave up thirteen second half tallies to the opposition. Entering 2017, Brilla look to fill in the holes made by last year's team by bringing in talented players from all over the world, including Spain, Ghana, and Canada. With the addition of expansion sides FC Cleburne, Houston FC, and Texas United to the Mid South Division, Mississippi will hope to prey on the younger teams and find their way into the playoffs.
Keys to Victory
- Keep Defense Linear: During the Tormenta match, one of the most important parts of keeping South Georgia out of the net was the linear defense MOBA utilized. The back four stayed straight and made TFC try to find holes that were not there. The only goal that was given up was a rebound off a penalty kick that you can only do so much about. Keep up the defensive pressure and force Brilla to find holes in the back line in order to get to the keeper.
- Hit the Keeper from the Front: One of the main reasons MOBA has only scored two goals this year lies in the sideways attacks. Coming at the keeper from the side forces you to play wide and then cut in late, with a narrow margin for error. On the other hand, if the attackers will come at the keeper from the front and only play the ball side to side to get positioning, then the keeper will be forced to come off his line, leaving open looks at the net.
Tickets for Saturday's matchup are still on sale at MOBASoccer.com/tickets. Along with catered food from Grazing Here, including beer and wine, there will be a raffle for a FREE MOBA 2017 away jersey available only to the first 50 fans in attendance. MOBA will need you to be loud and proud as they fight for a crucial three points at home against Mississippi Brilla FC! Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM.