On a nice sunny Sunday afternoon at Saluda Shoals Park near the banks of the Saluda River in Irmo, S.C., Soda City FC Sorinex trounced the Georgia Revolution Reserves by a score of 4-2. After jumping out to a 3-0 halftime lead, the home team held off a second half push to advance to Round 3 of the Open Division Local qualifying tournament for the 2020 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Soda City is attempting to become the first Open Division Local team from South Carolina to qualify for the tournament in the Modern Era (1995-present).
Soda City got on the front foot early by pressing and capitalizing on early chances led by Graham Jermstad who notched both assists on the first two goals in the opening half hour. Seth Hansen opened the scoring in the 17th minute, followed by a goal off a corner kick by Leo Mukofsky. Soda City added a third after a mad scramble in the box that saw Davis Bryan volley it past the goalkeeper to send his team into the halftime break with a comfortable three-goal lead. The few times that the Revs did have the ball in the first half they would swing the ball out wide and blindly whip in a cross without success.
In the second half, it was a completely different ball game. The Revs, from the opening whistle, continued to press and finally broke through in the 70th minute off a goal by Ryan Pugh to make it 3-1 in favor Soda City. Pugh, a former NCAA Division II All-American at Clayton State, gave the Revolution an offensive spark. Then, in the 81st minute, an unmarked Revs defender Elisa Madichie gave Soda City a reason to be scared by scoring a wicked scissor kick on an assist by Asa Eggleston to make it 3-2 with no sign of slowing down.
But in the dying moments of the game, Soda City goalkeeper Grant Dickey initiated a counterattack by punting the ball to Akeel Crooks, playing the role of super-sub, into a one-on-one situation with the Revs keeper. Crooks lifted a delicate header into the net to make the score 4-2 and put the final nail in the coffin.
Soda City advances to Round 3 where they will host Nashville United at the same venue on Nov. 22.
“We are going to keep our head in the same direction and that is what we’re going to focus on,” said Soda City head coach Nick Lewis. “Because got knocked out in the third round of qualifying last year.”
Last year, in Soda City’s qualifying debut, they advanced to Round 3 where they lost a 2-1 road game to America SC down in Winter Garden, Fla. Lewis acknowledges that this year is different. The main difference, he noted, will be getting to stay home for their next round match and not having to drive down to the Orlando area, like they did a year ago.