The Asheville City's USL League Two team won their first ever playoff game as members of the league, with a 3-0 result over Brazos Valley Cavalry FC.
Initially delayed by lightning, the Blues used goals from Quenzi Huerman, Lucas Gonzalez, and Finn Ballard-McBride to advance to the Southern Conference semifinals, slatted for Sunday night.
The first half of the game was dominated by the Blues who possessed the ball for the majority of the period. City applied constant pressure, resulting in multiple corner and free kick opportunities.
Shots from Huerman, Dani Cerezo, and Haruki Yamazaki almost gave City an early advantage.
It was not until the 38th minute when the Blues deservedly found the back of the net. After forcing a turnover off a Cavalry goalkick, Yamazaki quickly found a streaking Huerman, who had yards of open space along the right wing. His left-footed shot found the net on the near-side of the keeper, who did not dare to even attempt a save attempt.
The Blues took the 1-0 advantage into halftime.
Just minutes into the second half, Lucas Gonzalez doubled City's lead with his fifth goal of the season. Time stood still as the winger stared down the goalie before slotting the ball far-post. Gonzalez was set up by a brilliant pass from Huerman, who received extra attention following his goal to the point of drawing a pair of opponents to him, which freed the space for Gonzalez to take the keeper on one-on-one.
A flurry of changes were made soon after to keep the Blues fresh under the scorching Florida sun. Finn Ballard-McBride, Clay Obara, and Conor Behan all entered for Dani Cerezo, Quenzi Huerman, and Haruki Yamazaki.
Not far behind was Oskar Lenz and Georgie Bediko coming on for Lucas Gonzalez and Malcolm Ward.
After scoring two goals, the team did not hold back as Finn Ballard-McBride scored in the 83rd minute bringing the score up to 3-0. Oskar Lenz earned the assist on the play with cheeky move to lose his defender while cutting towards the box from the left corner. He found the Australian striker at the far post for the easy tap-in.
To finish the night, Aiden O’Brien entered the match for captain Ryan Baer. O'Brien put in a quality shift to help bring the match to a close.
While a trio of goals is worth celebrating, the team takes pride in clean-sheet of the Cavalry and the league's leading scorer. The defensive backline of Bissafi Dotte, Tyler Clegg, and Steven James never played a full-90 with each other, but the trio oozed class to give keeper Ryan Bilichuk a lighter outing.
Next up for the #6 Blues is a second round matchup on Sunday, July 24. The team will play the #2 NC Fusion who beat the hosting #7 The Villages on penalties following a 1-1 match.