Players from Greenville Triumph celebrate the club’s goal against South Georgia Tormenta in the First Round of the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Brittany Hildreth | Twitter: @britthildreth
In the only 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup First Round match to feature two professional teams, Greenville Triumph SC was able to notch a 1-0 victory over South Georgia Tormenta FC in a USL League One showdown. The victory came on the back of hometown boy Cole Seiler’s 75th minute game winner after a chaotic few minutes starting in the 65th minute.
Tormenta goalkeeper Matias Reynares was about to be booked for persistent time wasting when a Triumph player went to grab the ball and was elbowed in the face. After a scrum, no cards were handed out and, oddly, an indirect free kick was given inside the 18-yard box.
While nothing came from that chance, moments later, Seiler saw the ball drop at his feet from an Aaron Walker corner kick that led to the match’s only goal. The midfielder celebrated his goal by doing the Legacy Leap into the supporters’ section.
“I think it’s always nice to score. I haven’t done that enough in my pro career so I am trying to make a habit of it here in Greenville,” Seiler said. “I wish I would have celebrated with my teammates before the fans.
“I appreciate the fans but I want everyone to know that was a team effort on that goal.”
With the win, Greenville will host USL Championship side Charleston Battery Wednesday, May 15, for the first ever Palmetto Derby between South Carolina’s two professional teams. This will mark just the second time in the tournament’s history that two South Carolina teams have squared off. Back in 2002, the Charleston Battery, then of the A-League (Div. 2 pro) traveled to take on the Greenville Lions (D-3 Pro League) in a Second Round matchup.
“It’s important that the guys recognize this moment and the hard work that was put into it,” said Greenville head coach John Harkes, who won this tournament as a player with D.C. United in 1996. “I thought the guys deserved it tonight. We came out and we managed the game extremely well with good possession and a good battle in winning duels.
“It’s a good win. We will take it and move forward.”
The game got off to a fast start for Greenville as it dominated possession early in the match. As Greenville created chances early, it was clear that a mostly second choice Tormenta side was growing increasingly frustrated and things began to get a bit chippy.
Although the referee gave plenty of leeway early on, he would try to bring the match under control in the 37th minute by issuing a yellow card to Tormenta’s Mikie Rowe for a foul, followed quickly by another to Tormenta’s Josh Phelps for dissent.
After a scoreless first half, Tormenta tried to boost its attack early in the second half by bringing on Ricardo Gomez and Conner Antley who have both shined this season.
After the Seiler goal, the Triumph were able to go on the defensive and see the match out in front of the over 1,700 home fans.