By Georgia Revolution FC
On a sweltering night in McDonough, Georgia the GA Revs squared off against in-state rivals LSA Athletico Lanier to decide who would advance to the Southeast Conference championship game. Early in the season the top seeded Revs dominated LSA 6-0 but during the last game of the Revs regular season, a much improved LSA shocked the conference with a strong 4-2 victory over the first-place team.
With the only defeat of the season fresh on the minds of the players and staff, the Revs came out attacking and were rewarded when Dylan Gaither buried a screamer from 25 yards out just two minutes into the game. The Revs continued to press throughout the first half creating many chances but LSA goalkeeper Cooper Bowen made several key saves and both teams entered the locker rooms 1-0 and playing well.
Early in the second half the Revs scored again. Captain Sagi Hirsch sent in a corner and Ousman Jabang buried the header to put the Revs up 2-0. The game began to settle into a physical back- and-forth match with neither team giving away cheap opportunities until the 83rd minute. Revs midfielder Ollie Peters stepped hard to a ball outside the box, fouling an LSA player. From about 20 yards out, Juan Munoz Monsalve took advantage of the opportunity and put a well- placed shot into the back of the net, making it 2-1. Only five minutes later, LSA defender Khalil Bell found the ball as it knocked around the six-yard box, tying the game at 2-2 when regular time ended.
In extra time both exhausted teams continued to battle for a goal, but after 30 additional minutes the game was still tied 2-2 and the teams moved into penalty kicks. Hirsch stepped up to take the first kick for the Revs but was denied by Bower who made a fantastic clutch save. LSA would go on to put three shots into the back of the net but the Revs kept pace, then LSA’s forth shot taker stepped up and hit the ball over the bar, giving the Revs a chance. As the seventh LSA player took his chance, Revs keeper Chris Banfi made a miraculous save. Ollie Peters stepped to the spot for the team and buried his shot, ending the PK duel 6-5 in favor of Georgia Revolution FC.
The Revs will host Georgia Storm Saturday night for the conference championship. Both teams have a great following, and the atmosphere will be electric as the new derby continues to gain momentum. Kickoff is at 8:00 pm at Henry High School Stadium in McDonough, GA.
Photo Credit: Bree Hicken