Richmond Kickers striker David Bulow was selected as TheCup.us Player of the Round for his Second Round brace en route to leading the club to a 4-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
A candidate the week before for a hat-trick in a 4-1 win against the Dayton Dutch Lions, Bulow’s double put him in rarified air on the career scoring list for the Professional Era (1995-present) of the US Open Cup, making him the leading choice for the honor.
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.
Photo: Richmond Kickers / Suz Kitsteiner
Bulow delivered the opening score 17 minutes in when he stationed himself at the six and drove in a low cross from Edson Elcock. He nearly doubled the lead two minutes later on a fantastic diving header only to see it slide wide of the far post.
Pittsburgh would level terms on the half-hour mark, but Bulow restored the advantage four minutes before the break, finishing off another low cross at the six on a ball from Sascha Gorres.
Bulow is the first player for the Kickers to be named Player of the Round by TheCup.us, which has selected the honor since 2006.
Bulow’s five goals in the past two rounds lifted him from being tied for 11th in goals since 1995 to a tie for first with Johnny Menyongar and all-time MLS leading scorer Jaime Moreno. When he entered the tournament he was level with former MLS greats Ronald Cerritos and in the process of leading Richmond to a pair of wins, passed MLS stars Josh Wolff, Carlos Ruiz, Dante Washington and Sebastien Le Toux among several of his USL peers. All of the mentioned MLS players but Le Toux, who is only in his third MLS campaign, rank among the league’s top 25 in the all-time scoring table for the league.
Playing more than four games is a rare occurrence in the US Open Cup where lower division clubs are, for the most part, eventually eliminated by the Major League Soccer teams, who themselves are limited to four matches by entering in the Third Round. That makes being a scoring leader on the all-time list for the Pro Era a lofty list. A player must either have two or three standout tournament performances or tally in a vast number of different tournaments.
|David Bulow and the Richmond Kickers
|In 2004, Bulow made his US Open Cup debut with the Cape Cod Crusaders of the PDL. The amateur side had a nice run (along with teammates who also went on to play professionally like Kurt Morsink, Scott Palguta and David Mahoney), where they
reached the Third Round. He scored a goal in a 4-1 win over NY Greek American Atlas (USASA) to start the tournament and added two more in a 3-2 upset of the Western Mass Pioneers (3rd Division) in Round 2. In their Round 3 match on June 30, 2004, the Crusaders fell short of a date with D.C. United when the A-League’s Richmond Kickers eliminated them 1-0 on a David Hayes golden goal in the fourth minute of extra time. Ronnie Pascale was in net for the Kickers that night, and playing opposite Bulow for the Kickers was current strike partner Matthew Delicate.
Bulow is becoming a mixture of the two. After scoring three goals in his debut campaign in 2004 with the PDL Cape Cod Crusaders, he had scored only five more goals in four further appearances. In comparison, Menyongar scored the bulk of his goals, 12, in his first three campaigns while Moreno scored more than one goal only twice (3 in 1996, 4 in 2000) in his eight campaigns. Retiring this past offseason and now coaching in DC’s youth academy, his last came a year ago, joining Menyongar, who had moved to the top in 2008.
In a stroke of coincidence, the Kickers drew the Columbus Crew for the Third Round contest in which Bulow could surpass Moreno as the Pro Era scoring leader for the tournament. The Crew are the club of Jeff Cunningham, who is currently one tally back of Moreno in the all-time MLS scoring table, leaving Moreno in a position where he could see both honors disappear in one week. Cunningham, though listed as questionable by the Crew for Sunday’s match against Colorado with a right hamstring strain, came into the game for the final 15 minutes but saw few opportunities as the club led 4-1 already. The next Columbus match is at Dallas Saturday.
Odds are in Bulow’s favor to also finish as the tournament’s leading scorer. Only four tournaments since 1995 have seen a scoring leader reach six goals in a given tournament on a total of six occasions. Five players have led four different tournaments with five goals. Last year, Miami FC’s Paul Araujo Jr. (now with Real Salt Lake) and Nate Jaqua of Seattle Sounders FC both netted five goals to tie for scoring honors.
It was not a case of Richmond getting a favorable draw against amateur clubs that allowed Bulow to run up his tally. Instead, the Kickers have played two fellow USL Pro clubs thus far, and the midfielder has only three goals in 13 league appearances, scoring his last April 30.
Professional Era Scoring Leaders (1995-present)
# – Player – Last Goal
13 – Johnny Menyongar – 2008
13 – Jaime Moreno – 2010
13 – David Bulow – 2011
12 – Melvin Tarley – 2009
11 – Sebastien Le Toux – 2009
10 – Byron Carmichael – 2009
10 – Dante Washington – 2004
9 – Tomas Boltnar – 2006
9 – Randi Patterson – 2009
9 – Carlos Ruiz – 2007
9 – Matthew Delicate – 2011
9 – Josh Wolff – 2005
8 – Ronald Cerritos – 2006
8 – Brian McBride – 2002
Bold – Playing for a 2011 Open Cup team
Professional Era Leaders Among 2011 Open Cup Participants
13 – David Bulow (Richmond Kickers)
9 – Matthew Delicate (Richmond Kickers)
7 – Chris Albright (NY Red Bulls)
7 – Nate Jaqua (Seattle Sounders)
6 – Paulo Araujo Jr (Real Salt Lake)
6 – Jeff Cunningham (Columbus Crew)
6 – Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
6 – Jamie Watson (Orlando City)
5 – Davy Arnaud (Sporting KC)
5 – Dominic Oduro (Chicago Fire)
Leading Scorers by Year
Year – Goals – Players
2010 – 5 – Nate Jaqua (Seattle Sounders), Paulo Araujo Jr (Miami FC)
2009 – 3 – Five players
2008 – 5 – Sebastien Le Toux (Seattle Sounders)
2007 – 5 – Sebastien Le Toux (Seattle Sounders)
2006 – 4 – Four players
2005 – 6 – Herculez Gomez (LA Galaxy), Melvin Tarley (Minnesota Thunder)
2004 – 4 – Julian Nash (Chicago Fire Reserves)
2003 – 4 – Amado Guevara (Metrostars)
2002 – 4 – Johnny Menyongar (Minnesota Thunder)
2001 – 5 – Abdul Thompson Conteh (DC United)
2000 – 6 – Josh Wolff (Chicago Fire), Welton (Miami Fusion)
1999 – 6 – Mugurel Dimitru (San Diego Flash)
1998 – 4 – Jason Acres (Chicago Stingers)
1997 – 6 – Marquis White (San Francisco Bay Seals)
1996 – 4 – Doug Miller (Rochester Raging Rhinos)
1995 – 4 – Shawn Medved (Seattle Sounders)