MURFREESBORO, TN - Nashville SC got their 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign, beating USL League One side South Georgia Tormenta FC 2 on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.
Gary Smith fielded a strong side, with 2019 USL Golden Boot winner Cameron Lancaster up top. New signing Derrick Jones was handed his debut only a day after arriving in Nashville, taking the #4 shirt and slotting into the no. 8 role next to Bolu Akinyode.
Nashville got off to a strong start. Ropapa Mensah opened the scoring in the 8th minute, getting on the end of a through ball from Alan Winn and beating Tormenta keeper Tor Saunders at the far post.
Tormenta had a couple chances to equalize, with winger Adrian Billhardt taking a couple strong shots that tested Connor Sparrow. However, Nashville held them at bay and added a second through Winn, who collected a chipped pass from Akinyode and finished at the far post.
Billhardt pulled one back right before halftime. Jarvian Wigfall's pass took a deflection that sent it over the head of Liam Doyle, and Billhardt was able to avoid Sparrow and finish into an empty net.
Lancaster added a third for Nashville in the 52nd minute, controlling a cutback pass from Winn before slotting it past Saunders. It was Winn's second assist of the night, and it looked like Nashville would ride out the night in cruise control.
Tormenta kept things tight, though. A corner kick in the 68th minute saw Meehan get the ball unmarked and head home from close range. It set the match up for a nervy finish, with Nashville trying to keep possession and Tormenta pushing hard for an equalizer.
In the end, three goals were enough for Nashville. They hung on to win 3-2 and advance to the Third Round, where they will play the winner of Charleston Battey vs Greenville Triumph on May 29 at MTSU. They're back in USL action this weekend, taking on Charlotte Independence at First Tennessee Park on Saturday night.