Posted on 29. May, 2012 by Gerald Barnhart in Uncategorized
It is not often that clubs or players representing the USASA are involved with making history in the US Open Cup. On Tuesday night Cal FC will be 90 minutes away from immortalizing their 2012 tournament appearance, and it comes courtesy of Danny Barrera, who became only the third player in TheCup.us history to repeat as Player of the Round, and the first to do so in the first few rounds of the event.
The Player of the Round award 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.
After knocking off the Premier Development League’s only professional side, Kitsap Pumas, with a pair of goals in a 3-1 win, Barrera led Cal FC in a stunning effort in the Second Round. He scored two goals, on assists from his brother Diego, in a shocking 4-0 victory on the opposite of the side of the country against USL Pro club Wilmington Hammerheads.
The four-goal win was the largest margin of victory in the Modern Pro Era (1995-present) by a USASA club against a team from a professional league, and it marked only the 10th time a team from the organization advanced against such opposition. Only two other matches previously were decided by two goals. In 2002, CASL Elite set the mark at three with a 5-2 win against the then third division Carolina Dynamo. In 2005, the Reggae Boyz of Indianapolis downed the third division Cincinnati Kings, 4-2.
The Cal FC victory set up a Third Round match with the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer, marking only the fifth time in the Modern Pro Era in which a USASA club will play against an MLS side. Only once in the previous four matches has the amateur club advanced. Dallas Roma stunned Chivas USA in 2006 by taking Chivas USA all the way to penalties in a scoreless Third Round stalemate before prevailing in the tiebreaker. They were eliminated, 2-0, by the LA Galaxy in the Fourth Round. Uruguay SC of Florida is the only other club to have played MLS sides, falling to Tampa Bay Mutiny, 1-0 in golden goal overtime, in the 2000 Second Round and getting blanked by the Miami Fusion, 4-0, in the Second Round a year later.
Being on the doorstep of history is quite an achievement for Barrera and Cal FC, a club formed over the course of the past year, in part, by former US international striker and Fox Sports television star Eric Wynalda, the club’s coach.
The ‘second chance’ club is certainly doing just that for Barrera. The Second Round honor makes him just the third player since TheCup.us began recognizing players to earn Player of the Round honors in back-to-back rounds. Even rarer, he is the first to do so for the first two rounds of the tournament, a feat that is extremely improbable due to the number of games and teams involved.
He is in fine company with the other two repeat honorees being Pat Noonan of the New England Revolution and Nate Jaqua of the Seattle Sounders. Noonan was recognized in the 2007 Semifinals and Final while Jaqua was selected for the award in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals of the 2010 tournament. Both won tournament championships those years.
USASA Advancements vs Pro League Clubs
Bavarian SC 2000: 1-0 vs Reading Rage (third division – USL)
Bavarian SC 2007: 1-0 vs Cincinnati Kings (third division – USL)
Bridgeport Italians 1997: 3-2 vs Rhode Island Stingrays (third division – USL)
Cal FC 2012: 4-0 vs Wilmington Hammerheads (third division – USL)
CASL Elite 2002: 5-2 vs Carolina Dynamo (third division – USL)
Dallas Roma 2006: 1-0 vs Miami FC (second division – USL)
Dallas Roma 2006: 0-0 (4-2 pk) vs Chivas USA (first division – MLS)
Reggae Boyz 2005: 4-2 vs Cincinnati Kings (third division – USL)
San Jose Oaks 1996: 3-2 vs California Jaguars (third division – USL)
United German Hungarians 1999: 2-1 vs New Jersey Stallions (third division – USL)