After two straight USOC losses to Chattanooga FC, Wilmington Hammerheads FC obviously had no intention of losing to a third NPSL team. After two goals in the first 10 minutes, it became clear they were in control and Wilmington cruised to a 6-0 win over Miami Fusion FC.
The goals came early and often for Wilmington as they struck first with a breakaway goal in the sixth minute. The smoke hadn’t even floated away from the supporter’s section when Wilmington’s attack led to another goal. Before 10 minutes had elapsed, the Hammerheads already held a 2-0 lead. Wilmington coach Mark Briggs later said the quick scores were exactly what the team had been working on.
“The focus for us has been doing a lot of finishing lately, a lot of repetition in front of goal,” said Briggs. “If I could have gone to sleep last night and dreamt of the perfect game tonight, this was it. It gave us an opportunity to score goals. It gave us an opportunity to get people on the field who need minutes, especially leading up to Saturday against Charleston which is a massive game. It was good all around for everyone.”
The first goal came from Austin Martz, who got free on a breakaway, and appeared to have glanced a shot off the keeper, but it was later ruled that Justin Moose had the last touch. That would become important because Martz later scored two more goals, but could not complete the hat trick without that first goal.
After adding two more goals, Wilmington went into the half with a 4-0 lead. Coming out of the break, Miami Fusion FC used their last two subs, leaving them with none for the second half. This would prove costly for Miami, as they would later play the final 20 minutes of the game with nine players after two went down with injuries. Wilmington used this advantage to add two more goals, pushing the final to 6-0. Coach Briggs added that he was happy his team took care of business in what the Cup setting.
“These games can go one of two ways like any game,” said Briggs. “These games, when you take them easy, they can easily become a banana skin and you can fall flat on your face. That was the focus in the locker room and it was all about making sure that they were focused like they would be playing any other team in our league.”
With the biggest shutout win in the club’s Open Cup history, the Hammerheads will travel south to play the first-ever tournament game in the state of Florida when they face Miami FC (NASL) on June 1.