PDL Releases 2018 Season Schedule
At long last, the 2018 season is beginning to take shape. While kick off is still three months away, the Premier Development League released each team's match schedule on Thursday, with the conference realignment announcements coming in the days prior. For Peachtree City MOBA, 2018 will be a total shift from the club's first two seasons, as a sudden growth of team's on the east coast has resulted in the Yellow and Black going from the Eastern Conference to the Southern Conference, joining five other teams as founding members of the Deep South Division. While there are still some questions that need to be answered before the season starts, such as who will fill the MOBA roster and who the team in Memphis actually is, based on the knowledge available now, including previous seasons' recruiting and results, 2018 has the potential to be a historic season for Peachtree City. Prior to the start of the new season, have a look at the opponents Peachtree City MOBA will be facing in the Deep South.
South Georgia Tormenta FC
2017 Record: 7-3-4
Match Dates: May 12 (H), June 13 (A)
One of the biggest rivalries in the Eastern Conference between 2016 and 2017, the Georgia PDL Clasico makes its transition to the Southern Conference for one season before Tormenta move to USL Division III in 2019. The match-ups have been fairly split over the last two seasons, with Tormenta winning twice, MOBA once, and two draws, and 2018 is expected to be no different. Tormenta have always been very good at recruiting quality players, and MOBA will need to be able to match the intensity that Tormenta manager John Milgarese brings to a game. Matches between these two sides have always been exciting to watch, and with the first match-up being the season opener, everything will be up for grabs for both teams which should make for some very exciting soccer.
2017 Record: 1-9-2 (NPSL)
Match Dates: May 19 (H), June 30 (A)
New to the PDL in 2018, Birmingham Hammers make their transition from the NPSL, where the club spent their previous two seasons. The only PDL club in Alabama, the Hammers have had their struggles as members of the NPSL, winning only three matches over the last two seasons. Defense was the club's largest struggle last season, as they finished with a -23 goal differential, the second worst in the South Region. That is not to say that they cannot be dangerous, however. Maybe a change of scenery (or, in this case, leagues) was a move that needed to happen and may lead to better results out on the pitch. Should MOBA be able to bring on some quality goal-scoring talent this season, the Hammers are definitely a team that MOBA can get points against, but they cannot be overlooked.
SC United Bantams
2017 Record: 6-4-4
Match Dates: May 22 (H)
During their two seasons in the South Atlantic Division, MOBA have struggled to get any points against the Bantams, losing five times in their five matches. Maybe this is the year they finally get their revenge. Playing just one time in 2018, the MOBA-Bantams match-ups have always been tales of defensive struggles for Peachtree City, but under the leadership of life-long defender Omar Jarun, look for MOBA's defense to be the best it has ever been, which could mean success against a team that has dominated the pitch, both home and away. We will not know until matchday comes, but there is a lot to be optimistic about. Only time will tell.
Memphis PDL Club
2017 Record: N/A
Match Dates: May 31 (A), June 2 (A), June 21 (H), June 23 (H)
This is an interesting one. As of February 1st, 2018, there is no word on who exactly this club is. When the league announced the conference realignment on January 31st, the club was listed as "Memphis City" which has led people to believe that it is Memphis City FC, the NPSL club that Santiago Moore played for in 2016. On the PDL website, however, the club is simply referred to as "Memphis, TN." The PDL has said nothing about the state of a club in West Tennessee, whether it be Memphis City or a totally new club, so a lot of things are still up in the air. Not a whole lot can be said about the state of competition here, and we will not know anything until the league gives us an update.
Tri-Cities Otters FC
2017 Record: 3-9-2
Match Dates: June 16 (A), July 3 (H)
Matches between the Otters and MOBA have always been nail-biters, as all five matches have been decided by just one goal, with MOBA winning three and the Otters winning two. Tri-Cities joined the PDL in 2016 as an expansion club alongside both MOBA and Tormenta, and the Otters were the first victims to be claimed by the Yellow and Black, as Omar Jarun scored twice on the road to secure a 2-1 victory. MOBA followed up that match with another 2-1 victory against the Otters, this time at home, as Jessey Hein scored the winning goal deep into stoppage time. Tri-Cities got their first win in the series in 2017 with a 1-0 home victory, which was quickly followed up by another home victory eleven days later, this time by a score of 2-1. MOBA went back on top with a third victory when Edmundo Robinson scored the late winner to propel Peachtree City to three points late in the season. Even in a new division in a new conference, one can only expect the same intense match-ups to carry over into 2018.
Mississippi Brilla FC
2017 Record: 9-2-3
Match Dates: June 28 (H), July 13 (A), July 15 (A)
The MOBA-Brilla history is definitely one to know. As the furthest west team in the Deep South Division, Brilla are the only club in the division that played in the Southern Conference last season. When Peachtree City entered the league in 2016, the PDL saw an opportunity. Given the fact that Mississippi played in the same division as all the Texas PDL teams, they found themselves in a situation where travel times were always long. With a team being created in Peachtree City, the league realized that they could give Brilla a break once a season and allow them to head east to play a match with Peachtree City, and Peachtree City would go to Clinton. As one of the only inter-conference match-ups in the league, this quickly built a positive relationship between the two clubs, and now that they are in the same division, that rivalry has a chance to grow even further. Despite MOBA having never beaten Brilla, they did manage to get a draw on the road last season, with Todd Fidler scoring in the ninetieth minute to level things at one. Now playing three times in 2018, these matches have an opportunity to make a real impact on the playoff picture.