Having beaten MLS clubs in the past, the Wilmington Hammerheads came into Tuesday’s contest with the PDL Austin Aztex fully focused after an embarrassing 4-0 home loss to amateur Cal FC a year ago in the Second Round and used some help from the hosts for a 2-0 win, moving on to a Third Round showdown with the Portland Timbers.
Troy Hernandez posted the shutout in his debut for Wilmington, making a few important saves in the early going and eliminating any potential nerves.
Things became a lot easier in the 23rd minute when his counterpart, Devin Cook, was sent off for taking down Steven Perry on a breakaway. Richard Isberner converted the subsequent penalty and the Hammerheads controlled from that point.
They were unable to find the back of the net themselves, however, with an own goal providing the insurance in the 68th minute. A failed clearance on a free kick led to Juan Cruz putting the ball in his own goal.
The victory was the first in tournament history away from home for the Hammerheads against all opposition, having come into the match 0-5-1 with a PK victory. It is a complete contrast to their 13-5-0 record at home.