By Georgia Storm
The Georgia Storm took on the Georgia Revolution in a state derby match in Georgia Storm’s inaugural NPSL match.
Starting in a 3-5-2, the Revolution started quickly. They came out of the blocks, and in the first few minutes were creating difficulty for the Storm defense in the wide areas. In the first ten minutes, the Revolution created three to four gilt-edge opportunities culminating in several top-notch saves from Storm’s Fabian Pekruhl. After the first few minutes, Storm had to make a change at outside back as Charlie Hill came off injured with Gerald Forges replacing him. Around the 15 minute, Storm started to get the ball under control and maintain the majority of possession.
In the 21st minute, Forges hit a perfect-driven pass to Stephen Bivens who beat the Revolution center back to the ball heading it through to himself. As he pushed the ball through, the Revolution center back mistimed his challenge, ending in a bloodied nose for Stephen Bivens. With little other choice as Stephen Bivens was clear through, the referee sent off the center back, showing him the red card. Immediately after the decision, the Revolution sacrificed a midfielder to continue in a 3-5-1.
After the red card, Storm took over the possession for the last 15 minutes of the first half, creating numerous chances but failed to capitalize. Right before the end of the half, Storm’s Andrew Carleton makes a diagonal run on the end of a diagonal pass from Kevin Barajas as he just missed the chance. The Storm went into halftime 0-0 with Revolution.
To start the second half, both teams came out unchanged from how they ended the first half. As the second half started, the Storm came out with a lot of possession with Storm’s outside backs getting higher in good territory to create chances. About 15 minutes into the second half, Storm drove deep into Revolution territory, forcing a corner. From Carleton’s delivery Jacob Bivens headed over from eight yards. A few minutes later Storm moved the ball from the left wing to Barajas at the top of the box with his shot smartly saved by Revolution’s goalkeeper. In the 72nd minute, a moment of confusion between two Storm defenders led to a change from Revolution’s Geovanni Rios. He took the opportunity by smashing a right-footed volley into the top near post corner beyond Pekruhl to give the Revolution a 1-0 lead.
As the game wore on, both teams made a bevy of substitutions. Storm pushed more and more players forward, creating several chances from the left wing in particular. Forges smashed a left-footed drive just kicking off the outside of the near post. Storm’s Daniel Gillespie-O’Neill went for placement as a Revolution defender just got a toe to block a definite goal.
As the game drew to a close, Revolution fought hard to keep it at 1-0 with the final whistle finally going to come out victorious in the opening weekend of the Southeast Conference in the NPSL. The return leg at Revolution later in the season should be a great one.
“Not the result we were looking for, but we have lots of positives to take away,” Storm Head Coach Josh Bivens said. “The first half was the first 45 minutes out players had together as we still have players getting in from their college seasons.”
Photo Credit: Matt Laczko