The 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament will undoubtedly go down in history with the Seattle Sounders and Richmond Kickers as the leading stories. Both clubs made history, resulting in two players from each club as the four finalists for TheCup.us Player of the Tournament honors. The duo of Osvaldo Alonso and Fredy Montero are up for the award from the champion Sounders and David Bulow and Ronnie Pascale are in the running from Richmond.
The award, to be announced Thursday, October 13, is voted on by the staff of the definitive US Open Cup site TheCup.us and a selected panel of members of the North American Soccer Reporters, which also selects the MLS Player of the Week. The panel previously honored Alonso, Pascale, Bulow as TheCup.us Players of the Round along with Dominic Oduro (Chicago Fire), Mike Fucito (Seattle) and Zach Lubin (Kitsap Pumas).
Also receiving votes for the honor were Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson and Pumas netminder Bryan Meredith.
Alonso, Player of the Round for the Final, started in all four matches of Seattle’s historic run to the championship, leading the team defensively along the way and capping it off with a goal in stoppage time of the 2-0 championship against Chicago. Leo Gonzalez was the only other Sounder to start all four contests while Jeff Parke and Mike Fucito were the only two others to see action in all four games.
Montero scored the game-winning goal in each of the last three contests in guiding the Sounders to the historic championship, also topping in addition to the Fire, fellow league Champions League sides Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas in the Quarterfinal and Semifinal rounds.
Bulow finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with six goals, becoming the career leading in US Open Cup goals in the modern professional era (1995-present) with 14. With a hat-trick in the First Round, two goals in the Second he tied Johnny Menyongar and MLS great Jaime Moreno at 13. He notched the table-leading goal in a 2-0 Quarterfinal win against Sporting Kansas City.
The venerable Pascale added yet another accolade to his fantastic lower division career, earning Player of the Round honors in leading Richmond to the shutout win in Kansas City. The victory made the Kickers the first lower division club to win back-to-back road games versus MLS opposition in the history of the tournament.