Napa Valley 1839 FC
By Simon Provan/Milwaukee Torrent
30 minutes after the Members Cup officially kicked off in Chattanooga, TN, the second game in
match day one of the new NPSL competition kicked off at Hart Park, where the Milwaukee
Torrent played host to Napa Valley 1839 FC. In a game that saw the first goal scored in
Members Cup history, nearly 1000 fans were treated to a victory by the home side.
Because the Torrent choose not to play in the NPSL regular season, the lone Members Cup club
not to do so, there was some mystery as to how Milwaukee would fare against a Napa Valley
team that had a full summer season under its belt. After 90 minutes, the question was answered
as Milwaukee took all three points on the night, shutting out their California guests 2-0.
Following the first 15 minutes of play, in which both clubs took time to get a feel for each other,
the Torrent took control of overall possession, keeping 1839 out of the Torrent half for a
majority of the first 45 minutes. Even so, Milwaukee had trouble connecting passes and
mounting much of an attack.
As the Torrent looked to be finding their rhythm, dynamic Torrent midfielder Leo Areal went
down with what looks to be a strained MCL. With Areal out of the game, the Torrent needed to
regroup as it was obvious the club depended on the skill and energy of its Argentine midfielder.
Though it took about ten minutes for the Torrent to find its footing, Milwaukee would see the
best chance of the half for either club just before the halftime whistle. After a perfectly played
corner by Stephan Ruggeri to the six-yard box, Francisco Filippi climbed into the air and
snapped a very strong header at the 1839 goal. Napa Valley keeper Zachary Price found himself
in the perfect place at the perfect time as he stopped the point-blank shot from going into the
back of his goal and keeping the score 0-0 heading into the locker room.
On the other side of the whistle, the Torrent came out pressing strong and often from the second-
half kickoff. The obvious adjustment from Milwaukee manager Carlos “Cacho” Cordoba paid
off quickly. In the 47 th minute, once again Milwaukee lined up for another corner. In almost
identical fashion, Filippi found himself near the top of the six, this time smashing home his
header for the first goal of the game.
“I’m very happy to have scored,” Filippi said about the goal. “It was an early [second-half] goal
that relaxed us and gave us the confidence to play our style.”
The goal also marked the first goal scored in Members Cup history. At the time of Filippi’s goal,
Chattanooga and New York were still tied 0-0, with that game eventually ending in a 1-0 win for
Four minutes later, the Torrent doubled the lead thanks to a rocket of a goal from Lucca Lemos.
After winning the ball near midfield, the Brazilian took the ball by himself, steaking to the other
side of the field and towards the 1839 goal. Looking like he was going to continue his run,
Lemos surprised the three defenders in front of him by cracking a shot from 25 yards out, where
the ball found the back of the net, putting the Torrent up 2-0.
With Napa Valley looking to build up play through Onah Power, a very skilled and speedy
midfielder out of Oakland, CA, the Torrent snuffed out almost every attempt 1839 made with
trying to move forward. Milwaukee goalkeeper Kevin Tenjo finished with three saves.
However, he did have to make a critical save coming midway through the second half. With
Napa Valley finally finding themselves behind the Torrent backline, Tenjo came charging out to
smother the ball, thwarting 1839’s most dangerous attempt on the night. This confident display
by Tenjo would eventually be the key play in preserving the shutout.
“I’m happy for the result and for the great work of all the boys,” said Tenjo. “Fortunately we got
the shutout. It was important to start the season with a victory. Thank God things went as we
wanted. Now, we have to continue working for the next game. Thanks to all the fans who came
out to the game.”
After the match, Cordoba commented, “Winning the first game of the season is very, very
important because it helps to relieve a lot of the tension that the players, coaches, and owner
accumulate during the preseason. Wins always allow us to work with more freedom in what is
Though happy for the victory, Cordoba did go on to caution the team in getting too comfortable.
“We need to remember that we won just one game,” the former MLS manager continued.“There’s a lot more hard work to do. We did win and we did it well, with authority and style.
But that is not enough. We have to keep improving so we can give a reason to our fans to keep
coming back, aiming to play a nice style of soccer that represents them on the field. That is our
With the win and 2-0 score line, Milwaukee sits atop the early season Members Cup table, a
notch above the Cosmos due to a razor-thin difference in goal differential. Milwaukee plays its
first away match in the Members Cup as it next faces the Cosmos in New York this coming
Saturday. Napa Valley gets a bye week before hosting Detroit City FC on August 24th.
Photo Credit: Milwaukee Torrent