Match Recap: Valenciano Evens it Up in the 47th, MOBA Grabs a Point in Statesboro
Coming off a 6-1 loss in Nashville, MOBA came into Statesboro looking for redemption. The whole night, Peachtree City was getting beat on and off the dribble, and goals would not stop coming from the Nashville SC U23 team. During the week, head coach Volker Harms looked to repair those issues with lineup changes and strategical fixes with a desire to bounce back against rivals South Georgia Tormenta FC.
Right from the get-go, MOBA looked like a better team. Winning tackles in crucial areas, getting runs that led to goal-scoring opportunities, and most importantly, playing with energy. The ball went back and forth for the first thirty minutes, with Khallil Stewart and Todd Fidler anchoring the offense, while Salomon Lorenzano proved once again why he won Man of the Year last season as he led the defense. The momentum was split pretty evenly during the opening third, but one poorly timed tackle shifted the game into Tormenta's favor. In the thirty-sixth minute, MOBA defender Adam Sheikali swept in to defend a run, but in the process took out Tormenta forward Charlie Dennis in the box, and South Georgia was awarded the penalty kick. Dennis stepped up to take the PK, however keeper Will Meyer was having none of it. Dennis attempted to chip Meyer, but the shot was too low, and Meyer got his leg to it. The ensuing rebound, however, was collected by Michael Rowe, who calmly rifled it back into the net, putting the home side up 1-0. Facing yet another deficit, it was time for Peachtree City to harness what they practiced in training and avoid falling behind by any more. For the remainder of the first half, they played like experts, setting up a wall on the defensive end while pressing forward and putting the pressure onto Tormenta to keep them out of the net. The first half whistle blew, and MOBA went into the locker room down one, as opposed to four in the season opener.
How Peachtree City came out of the half was going to be crucial to the remainder of the game, as they needed to set the pace and play their style of football. Immediately after the whistle, they did just that. In the forty-sixth minute, Charlie Dennis returned the favor, pushing down MOBA midfielder Matthew Wooling, who stepped up to take the free kick from forty yards out. Peachtree City's designated free kick taker approached the ball and caught the Tormenta defense sleeping. Placing the ball perfectly near the penalty spot, midfielder Daniel Valenciano charged in and put his head to it, placing the ball beautifully, beating Tormenta keeper Keegan Meyer, and tying the match up at one a-piece with his first goal in a MOBA shirt. For the first time all season, MOBA found the momentum in their favor, and they did not let up. Following the early goal, the battle continued between the two rivals, as they repeatedly swapped blows, but neither team could find the knockout punch. For Peachtree City, subs Casey Shultis and Santiago Moore took the reigns of the attack, while Tanner Hummel and Michael Rowe took control of Tormenta FC. Two yellow cards were distributed in the second half, as Michael Rowe and Jordan Smith-Williams mistimed tackles that led to little change in momentum. No winner came for either side, and the final score line rested at 1-1.
After losing by five goals in their last matchup, almost any result would be welcomed by Peachtree City, a draw included. Peachtree City grabbed their first point of the 2017 season and continued their success against Tormenta FC, leading the all-time series with one win and two draws in three games. Heading back home, MOBA has little time to live in the past, as they are right back in the grind on Saturday, opening their home campaign against Mississippi Brilla FC at 7:30 PM. Tickets are still on sale at MOBASoccer.com/tickets. Grab your seat today and join us at the beautiful MOBA Soccer Academy! With catered food and drinks (including a selection of beers and wines) from Grazing Here, as well as a chance to win a FREE 2017 away jersey given to the first 50 fans in attendance, MOBA's home opener is sure to be one to remember!