A goal and an assist were enough to earn Darlington Nagbe of the Portland Timbers TheCup.us Player of the Round honors for the quarterfinals. He led his side to a 3-2 victory over fellow MLS squad FC Dallas to send the Timbers to the semifinals for the first time in club history.
Nagbe is the second Timbers player to win Player of the Round this year. Teammate Frederic Piquionne took home the prize for his four-goal performance in the Third Round.
The award is voted on by staff at TheCup.us and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters. Nagbe beat out the Chicago Fire’s Sean Johnson and Chris Rolfe as well as DC United’s Chris Pontius in a wide open vote.
Down 1-0 to Dallas at halftime, Portland turned to Nagbe for a spark of inspiration. In the 61st minute, Nagbe swerved his way through three defenders and beat Dallas keeper Chris Seitz to level the score at 1-1. After scoring one of the better goals of the tournament, just two minutes later, Nagbe was instrumental in giving the Timbers the lead. He hit a long through ball to Diego Valeri, who scored on a breakaway to put Portland up 2-1.
The Timbers eventually won the game 3-2 thanks to a Piquionne goal, but it was Nagbe who stole the show. His performance was the major reason Portland are now two wins away from becoming the first Oregon club to win the Open Cup title. The Timbers travel to Salt Lake City on August 7 to take on another first-time semifinalist, Real Salt Lake. The winner will host the Final against either DC United or the Chicago Fire. If Portland wins, the championship game will take place on Sept. 24, but if Salt Lake prevails, they will host the game on Oct. 1.
2013 TheCup.us Player of the Round Honors
Quarterfinals: Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)
Fourth Round: Dwayne De Rosario (DC United)
Third Round: Frederic Piquionne (Portland Timbers)
Second Round: Brandon Fricke (Des Moines Menace)
First Round: David Geno (Seattle Sounders U23)
Preliminary Round: Gustavo Villalobos (FC Hasental)