2016 US Open Cup: Who should be TheCup.us Lower Division Player of the Tournament?

Posted by | September 15, 2016
Diego Restrepo of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers is in position against the Richmond Kickers in the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Kelsey Hinds

Diego Restrepo of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers is in position against the Richmond Kickers in the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Kelsey Hinds

The 103rd edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup wrapped up on Tuesday night with FC Dallas lifting the trophy for the second time in club history. But before we shift focus to 2017 US Open Cup qualifying, which began last weekend, let’s take a look back at some of the top individual performances from 2016.

Every year, TheCup.us honors the overall Player of the Tournament, but also the best player among the lower division teams.

Here are a list of nominees for the 2016 TheCup.us Lower Division Player of the Tournament. The award is voted on by the staff at TheCup.us and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters. But, if YOU had a vote, who would you vote for?

Edwin Borboa (La Maquina – USASA)

Edwin Borboa of La Maquina celebrates his goal against the LA Galaxy in the Fourth Round of the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: LA Galaxy

Edwin Borboa of La Maquina celebrates his goal against the LA Galaxy in the Fourth Round of the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: LA Galaxy

With five goals scored, Borboa finished as the co-Golden Boot winner with David Accam of the Chicago Fire (MLS). In the Modern Era, there have only been three tournaments (2004, 2006, 2016) where a player from an amateur team finished at the top of the list. The former CD Guadalajara (Chivas) forward scored in every game and was a major part of the team that took Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy to extra time.

Round 1: 2-0 road win at Portland Timbers U23s (PDL)
- Played 90 minutes and scored a late goal to put the game away

Round 2: 2-0 home win vs. Sacramento Gold (NPSL)
- Played 90 minutes and scored the opening goal in the 70th minute

Round 3: 2-0 home win vs. Los Angeles Wolves (USASA)
- Played 90 minutes and scored both goals

Round 4: 4-1 OT road loss at Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
- Played 120 minutes and scored the equalizer in the first half

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Javier Castro (Kitsap Pumas – PDL) 

Kitsap (the only pro team in the PDL) got a first-round bye and made the most of it by advancing to Round 4 to face a MLS team. Castro was one of the main offensive weapons that helped them get there. He also became the first player in the Modern Era to score a goal in three consecutive tournaments with three different PDL teams.

Round 2: 1-0 home win vs. Seattle Sounders U23s (PDL)
- Scored the game-winning goal in the 90th minute

Round 3: 3-1 road win at Sacramento Republic (USL)
- Scored two of the team’s three goals in a convincing 3-1 upset on the road

Round 4: 2-0 road loss at Seattle Sounders (MLS)
- Played 90 minutes in loss against the Sounders.

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Justin Moose (Wilmington Hammerheads – USL)

Justin Moose of the Wilmington Hammerheads scored what would prove to be the game-winner against Miami FC in the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Miami FC- Orovio Photography

Justin Moose of the Wilmington Hammerheads scored what would prove to be the game-winner against Miami FC in the 2016 US Open Cup. Photo: Miami FC – Orovio Photography

Moose was one of the main players that saw the Hammerheads advance to Round 4 where they nearly upset Real Salt Lake. Instead, Real Salt Lake prevailed in penalty kicks. He featured in all three games.

Round 2: 6-0 home win vs. Miami Fusion FC (NPSL)
- Scored a goal in Wilmington’s biggest shutout win in the club’s Open Cup history 

Round 3: 2-1 road win at Miami FC (NASL)
- Scored what would prove to be the game-winner in Wilmington’s road win over a NASL side

Round 4: 2-2 draw (3-1 PK loss) at Real Salt Lake (MLS)
- Was involved in both goals for Wilmington (a primary assist and a secondary assist) in a 2-2 draw.

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Diego Restrepo (Fort Lauderdale Strikers – NASL)

Restrepo found himself in a rare situation where he played in three straight extra time games with two going to penalty kicks. He was voted TheCup.us Player of the Round in the Third Round, and fell one vote shy of becoming the first lower division player to win the award back-to-back. He played a big role in the Strikers’ best cup run in club history.

Round 3: 1-1 draw (2-0 PK win) at home vs. Richmond Kickers (USL)
- Made 3 saves in 120 minutes and then saved 3 of the 4 attempts in the PK shootout (NOTE: It was just the second time in Modern Era that a team was shutout in a PK shootout) – he was voted TheCup.us Player of the Round for his efforts

Round 4: 0-0 draw (4-3 PK win) on the road vs. DC United (MLS)
- Made eight saves in 120 minutes and then made one save in the PK shootout as the Strikers eliminate a MLS team for the first time in club history (Est. 2006). Finished runner-up for TheCup.us Player of the Round by one vote.

Round 5: 2-1 OT win at Orlando City SC (MLS)
- Made eight saves in 120 minutes as the Strikers defeated a MLS team and also won a road game for the first time in club history (Est. 2006)

Quarterfinals: 3-0 loss at Chicago Fire (MLS)
- Made four saves in the losing effort

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Luis Sosa (La Maquina – USASA)

Sosa was the backbone of the backline of La Maquina as they made history as the first amateur team in the Modern Era to win three straight Open Cup games without allowing a goal. He then held the LA Galaxy to just one goal in regulation before a controversial go-ahead goal in extra time opened the floodgates.

Round 1: 2-0 win at Portland Timbers U23s (PDL)
- No one took game stats, so we don’t know how many saves he had.

Round 2: 2-0 home win vs. Sacramento Gold (NPSL)
- The scoresheet says Sacramento had 15 shots on goal — not sure how accurate that is.

Round 3: 2-0 home win vs. Los Angeles Wolves (USASA)
- Played 90 minutes but no game stats were taken

Round 4: 4-1 OT loss at Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
- Played 120 minutes and allowed 1 goal in regulation before the controversial goal, a penalty kick and a late goal