Match Recap: Arslan Records a Hat-Trick, Tempers Flare as Tormenta Defeat MOBA for First Time in the Clasico
A season can go however it wishes. Teams can be good, and teams can be bad. Teams can score every game, and teams can struggle to score at all. No matter how a year goes, rivalry matches are a whole different monster. Take records, statistics, game film, and throw it all out the window, because a rivalry isn't played by any usual means, and the 4th Georgia PDL Clasico proved no different.
Just like on Saturday, the opening few minutes of the match could not have gone any worse for MOBA. After Tormenta midfielder Nick Wells won the ball from both Salomon Lorenzano and Daniel Olaniran, Wells took a run and played an expert ball up the field toward Jad Arslan. Arslan, who had not scored all season, touched the ball past goalkeeper Luke Oesterle, found himself in open space, and chipped the ball into the empty net, putting Tormenta up 1-0 in the fourth minute. Twelve matches, fifteen first half goals for opposing teams against Peachtree City, and only one time have MOBA been able to come back and win. The task was tough, but not impossible, and MOBA had to play with that mentality if they wanted to pull it even. Twenty-five minutes later, the lights were back on at MOBA Soccer Academy, as super-sub Victor Forti, who was making his first home start, took a pass from Edmundo Robinson and made his run to the box. Upon reaching the box, Forti was tripped up and dispossessed, and the referee took exception to it, awarding MOBA the penalty kick. Stepping up to take it was Edmundo Robinson, and he made no mistake, bouncing the ball off the upper goal post, and Rosenberg had no chance to save it. With the match now tied at one, it was anybody's ball game, but Tormenta weren't ready to relinquish their hold on the match. Just two minutes later, after James Thomas got in the way of a Tormenta free kick, the ball was sent back into the box, and Arslan ran in, unmarked, and headed the ball past Oesterle for his second goal of the match, making it 2-1 Tormenta. Just minutes later, the first instance of tempers flaring appeared on the sideline, as Tormenta head coach John Miglarese voiced his opinion of a foul, but his language and dissent were not welcome on the pitch, and Miglarese was given a red card and was sent to the locker room. With the momentum seemingly going in MOBA's direction, Tormenta's Charlie Dennis turned things around quickly. Collecting a rebound that went off the post, Dennis took just one touch and rifled the ball past Oesterle, as the visitors went into the break down a coach, but a up two goals.
Following the second half whistle, things got very quiet for both sides. For the opening twenty-five minutes, neither side could get anything going, as the defenses for both teams picked up tremendously. That, however, would not last forever. Just seconds after Edmundo Robinson nearly pulled another goal back for MOBA off a diving header, Tormenta got back on the attack quickly. Jad Arslan, who already had two goals, took a midfield header down the sideline and starting running. Halting just outside the box, Arslan took an expert side-footed shot that curled just out of reach of Oesterle and in. Quite the goal to seal up your hat trick and a 4-1 lead. Minutes later, it was Arslan again, but MOBA defender Cris Araya wasn't taking any chances, as he tackled Arslan before he could shoot, and Tormenta were awarded a penalty of their own. Michael Rowe stepped up to take the penalty, and after it was saved by Oesterle, Rowe ran in and collected the scraps, scoring on the empty net and putting Tormenta up 5-1. Things were looking bleak for MOBA to say the very least, but the yellow and black weren't going to phone in just yet. In the eighty-first minute, Michael Brezovsky was able to intercept a pass in the defensive third and play it out wide to Araya. Araya then played a great ball up to Daniel Valenciano, who turned and played a cross up to the charging Santiago Moore. Moore made no mistake on the touch, glancing it past Rosenberg and in, and the match was brought back to life. Moore's goal showed stark similarity to Tito Villalba's first on Saturday for Atlanta United FC, but the only difference was the score line, which now sat at 5-2. Moments later, however, things got just a bit more interesting. After a Tormenta defender was called for a hand ball just inches outside of the box, Valenciano stepped up to take the free kick. MOBA's Costa Rican midfielder took an outstanding right-footed shot, beating the wall and the keeper to score the first ever free kick goal in MOBA history, and the score now read 5-3 with five minutes left. Immediately after the goal, and altercation occurred in the box, as MOBA's Daniel Shaw was shoved to the ground by a Tormenta defender, and tempers flared once again between the rivals. Both players were shown yellow cards, and hope began to flood back into the stands, but it was quickly extinguished. After Auston Bueno nearly got MOBA back on the front foot, he ran into the referee and could not reach the ball. Tormenta's Rowe then took the through pass, and he placed it where no keeper could save it, and MOBA fell to Tormenta 6-3.
It goes without question that the Georgia PDL Clasico has provided some of the best football matches in the PDL, and the rivalry is just getting started. With things now even at 1-2-1 in the all-time series, July 8th's Peachtree City rematch will be one for the ages, as the two Georgia sides battle for the series lead. Monday's match was an absolute goal-fest, and Saturday's match could bear the same result if MOBA can't defend. With Adam Sheikali done for the season, it will be up to Salomon Lorenzano and the rest of the MOBA back line to come together and get the clean sheet, while Edmundo Robinson and the offense try to keep their run of success going. Tickets for the Clasico are on sale at MOBASoccer.com/tickets and will be available 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.