By Georgia Storm
Georgia Revolution FC entered their match with Georgia Storm on June 5 ranked second in the NPSL power rankings, and from the first minute it was a fierce, local Georgia derby match.
Early into the match, both teams were feeling one another out with many fouls stopping attacking play to slow the match. As the match wore on in the first half, Georgia Storm began to dominate in possession, but Georgia Revolution showed they were very dangerous on the counterattack. In the 20th minute the ball found its way to Georgia Storm left winger Andrew Carleton who beat his player into the box and fired a left-footed ball to the far post. It was blocked into the air to the top of the box where Storm’s Stan Vandierendonck volleyed wide.
In the 35th minute, Georgia Revolution earned a throw-in off some sloppy passing from Georgia Storm. The Revs left back came across to take the throw-in from the right, and it was a long throw to the far post. Georgia Revolution’s Oier Bernaola Lazkoz lost his marker and headed the ball in to give the Revolution a 1-0 lead.
In the next five minutes, Carleton beat his player on the edge of the box and was taken down from behind, giving the referee a difficult decision to make. The referee ruled the free kick to be just outside the box. That free kick was subsequently saved by the goalkeeper, as both teams headed into halftime with Georgia Revolution the happier of the two sides.
As the second half began, Georgia Storm had the bit between their teeth to find an equalizer, pressing the Revs from the whistle. Storm found good success getting their wingers high and wide against Georgia Revolution’s 3-5-2 system.
In the 55th minute after some intricate combination play from the Storm’s midfield, Kevin Fitzgerald pinged an inch-perfect diagonal ball over the opposing left center back’s head. Carleton took it with a first touch to come across the recovering defender who clipped Carleton in the process. The referee had no choice but to award Georgia Storm the penalty, where Carleton stuttered-stepped on his approach, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and finishing in the bottom right corner.
With the game level, Storm really saw the winner in sight and continued to press Georgia Revolution deeper and deeper. In the 60th minute, Storm’s Wilfried Kamdem-Tchoupa cut back onto his left foot and delivered a terrific cross that Stephen Bivens nodded home. Storm took what they believed was the 2-1 lead, but the assistant referee on the far side flagged them for an offside.
Both sides were struggling with the humidity as the match wound down. The final play of the game summarized this fierce derby perfectly as a Georgia Revolution player knocked Georgia Storm’s Brayan Palencia down prior to the corner, giving the referee no choice but to show him a yellow card.
It was a hard-fought match that Georgia Storm was unlucky not to win. Georgia Revolution dropped their first points of the year, but currently sit atop the Southeast Conference, while Georgia Storm stayed right on their heels.
Photo Credit: Matt Laczko