Match Preview: MOBA, Tormenta Set for Clasico Rematch
There is nothing better in sports than a rivalry. Two sides that hate each other more than a cat hates water going head-to-head in search of supremacy over the other is sure to bring some outstanding matchups, and the Georgia PDL Clasico has proven no different. After two years and four matches, the series between Peachtree City and South Georgia is deadlocked at 1-2-1, with Saturday's matchup having the potential to put one side on top going into the 2018 season.
Thus far in the series, all four matches have been absolute classics, as the final decision came right to the final minutes. In the first matchup back in June of 2016, it was MOBA who drew first blood, as Iain Smith scored the match's lone goal and MOBA won 1-0. A month later, the two sides met for the first time in Peachtree City in one of the most exciting matches in MOBA history. After MOBA went into the break up a goal thanks to Nick Spielman's header, Jeremy Rector and Todd Fidler, who was making his MOBA debut, began swapping blows, scoring the next four goals (including a stunning thirty-yard effort from Fidler), and MOBA were on top 3-2 late. In the eighty-ninth minute, however, Tormenta's Sidney McClain equalized, and the two sides drew 3-3 in a match that featured five yellow cards and twenty-eight fouls. In 2017, the tables have turned in Tormenta's favor, but not before Daniel Valenciano had his say in the series. In the thirty-seventh minute, after keeper Will Meyer saved Charlie Dennis' penalty kick, Tormenta's Michael Rowe stepped in and scored the rebound, putting Tormenta up 1-0. Almost immediately after the half, however, Matthew Wooling took a free kick near midfield, and Valenciano scored off a brilliant header to pull things even, and neither side could find a winner. With Peachtree City still leading the overall series by three points, South Georgia came into Peachtree City on a mission, scoring three first half goals to nullify Edmundo Robinson's penalty goal, and added two more in the second to go up 5-1. MOBA nearly pulled themselves all the way back, however, as Santiago Moore and Valenciano scored two goals in the span of five minutes to get things to 5-3, but Rowe put the game away in stoppage time, scoring a stunner from fifteen yards out, and Tormenta kept their playoff hopes alive. After eight yellow cards were issued on Monday as well as the Tormenta coach receiving a red card in the first half, things are not expected to be any kinder on Saturday, as Tormenta have to win in Peachtree City to stay in the playoff race, but MOBA hope to play spoiler after they fell last time out.
Keys to Victory
- Defend the Net: Despite a fairly good outing by the attackers that would have been enough to win most matches, it was the defense that cost MOBA, as they gave up six goals to their in-state rivals. That cannot be the case if they hope to find victory at home on Saturday. Losing Adam Sheikali for the remainder of the campaign hurts the back four tremendously, and it will be up to players like Salomon Lorenzano, Daniel Olaniran, and James Thomas to step up and take control of the match.
- Keep Up the Pressure: The pressure that MOBA put on the Tormenta defense was outstanding, and it wound up equaling three goals, and that will need to continue. The Tormenta defense has not been excellent this season, and MOBA will need to take advantage. A further three goals would be great, but scoring four goals (something MOBA has never done before) would do wonders.
With just two matches remaining on the schedule, MOBA need to finish strong and get at least one win to finish at or better than last season. That scenario is 100% possible, as MOBA have been playing some outstanding football in the second half of the season. After starting 0-6-1, the yellow and black have gotten seven crucial points while going 2-2-1 in their last five, including a victory on the road against Nashville who had defeated MOBA by an aggregate score of 8-2 in their last two matchups. Scoring just six goals in their first seven matches including two shutouts, the MOBA attacking has improved significantly, as they have scored nine goals in their last five under the leadership of leading scorers Edmundo Robinson (4 Goals) and Todd Fidler (3). MOBA's last two matches are nothing to take lightly though, as both matches are revenge matches. Following their home rivalry match with Tormenta, they close the season at home against SC United who have defeated MOBA all four times the teams have met. The road to matchday 14 starts Saturday at 7:30 in what is anticipated to be the most exciting match of the season. Tickets for the Clasico are available at MOBASoccer.com/tickets and will also be sold at the gate.
2017 #MOBAProud Man of the Year Voting
Every year, at the end of the season, one member of the Peachtree City MOBA roster is awarded with the #MOBAProud Man of the Year Award, an award denoting not just individual success, but also the effect that player had on his team, and the pride that player showed for their team during the season. For the first time in history, the decision will be left to you, the fans, of who receives the award. On the left side panel (on mobile, tap the three bars at the top of the screen), there is a section dedicated to voting for this award. All you have to do is read through the ten nominees and select your choice for the award winner. Voting closes on July 19th at 11:59 PM, and the winner will be announced on July 20th.