The state of Georgia continues to be unkind to the Otters as they fell 1-0 in their regular season opener on Saturday night, despite being up a man for the entire second half. The Otters were able to get on the front foot early, but an early goal in the second half by Tormenta FC ended up being the difference.
The Otters got the offense moving early with Guillermo Segovia (Ohio Valley) using his size to make the Tormenta defenders uncomfortable. Segovia forced a turnover deep in Tormenta territory that led Ayuk Tambe (Tusculum) to register the Otters first shot of the match.
The speed of Tambe and Lévy-Aquilas Nsimba (France) was utilized all night, with them often finding space on the wings and threatening on goal. Fellow Frenchman Mehdi Chtara (France) was also able to flash some fancy footwork and draw fouls in dangerous areas throughout the game.
On the defensive side, the always-reliable Torge Wiedenroth (Reinhardt) was able to make several key saves both in 1-v-1 situations, as well as going up and getting balls out of the air. Also, defender Blake Barribeau (Palm Beach Atlantic) continued to show his two-way ability, stifling attacks down the left flank and also playing long balls to Tambe and Nsimba and also taking some free kicks.
The tide seemed to turn when Tormenta defender Callum Chapman-Page was issued a second yellow card and subsequent red card after the halftime whistle following an exchange of words with the official.
The Otters were unable to capitalize on their man advantage, and went down 1-0 in the 52nd minute after a turnover in the midfield led to a Tormenta counterattack.
A late push by several Otters substitutes including Jordan Broadwater (ETSU) and Taylor Gray (Lees-McRae) was not enough and the score line remained 1-0 at the final whistle.
The Otters will travel to West Virginia on Wednesday to face off with the Chaos for their first out-of-division match of the season. They will look to get the ball rolling there, as they travel to face the Carolina Dynamo on the 26th before heading down to South Carolina the following week to face the Bantams. You can stay up to date on all things Otters by following us on social media and be sure to purchase your tickets for the home opener on June 8th against Mississippi Brilla! #FearTheFur