With a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup win under their belts from 2018, South Georgia Tormenta 2 returned to this year’s cup with a recipe for success.
The trio of Jarvian Wigfell, Luca Mayr-Fälten and Adrian Billhardt combined to give Tormenta 2 a 3-0 win over USL League One opponent Chattanooga Red Wolves in Statesboro, Ga. Tuesday in the opening round of the US Open Cup.
From early on, it was clear the Tormenta 2 had an attacking mindset that their opponents were lacking. Tormenta broke through in the 25th minute with a goal from their hometown hero. Playing on his home pitch at Georgia Southern University, Wigfell went on a late run to direct a deflection from James Meehan into the far corner to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Wigfell’s early goal set the tone of things to come as he and his fellow attackers continued to get good chances, with Tormenta finishing with seven shots on goal compared to Chattanooga’s 3.
“The forward guys were clinical,” said Tormenta 2 head coach Ian Cameron. “They believed in themselves and had the energy to outrun the other defenders. We knew we’d have quality, but the attitude was brilliant.”
They added to their lead in the second half, first with a beautiful cross from Billhardt that Mayr-Fälten slipped past the Chattanooga keeper to extend the lead to 2-0 in the 58th minute. Mayr-Fälten returned the favor with a great ball across the field that found Billhardt, who added the nail in the coffin in the 74th minute.
Cameron said he expected a good effort, but came clean when asked about the result.
“We knew that the spirit and fight can be instant as can the culture of the group,” said Cameron. “The quality was a little bit of a surprise. Adrian and Luca and others were breathtaking. That’s not coaching, that’s individual.”
Being a USL League Two team means that Tormenta 2 hasn’t had much time to practice. Most of their players arrived in Statesboro earlier this week. Cameron said that last year’s Tormenta team set the tone for the 2019 squad.
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 8, 2019
“What’s helped gel them together is that the culture of Tormenta as a whole was already in place,” added Cameron. “The attitude that the first team had as they trained showed these guys what they had to do. The group last year gave them this opportunity and we played for them. I couldn’t be prouder. They were fantastic and their energy was terrific.”
Billhardt was supposed to start the match for Tormenta 2, according to Cameron, but he wasn’t in the starting 11. Cameron didn’t provide a reason for leaving Billhardt out of the starting lineup. Despite that, Cameron said he was thrilled with way the young player responded both on and off the pitch.
“His focus the last few days has been outstanding, and when called upon, his attitude was tremendous,” added Cameron. “For someone who has such an attacking quality, to play in the defensive shift that he was put in and the number of turnovers he caused, if he keeps on doing that, his trajectory is going to take him to great places.”
Tormenta 2 advances to face Nashville SC out of the USL Championship division (Div. 2 pro). Cameron said that while the prime objective of USL League Two is to develop players, he said he expects his team to compete with whoever they line up against.
“I want them to fight, to play hard. They’re brave, and we expect to see them give a committed performance.”