Vlad Baciu’s second goal of the game came in second half stoppage time and helped RWB Adria (USASA) force overtime against NPSL side Detroit City FC. The match eventually went to penalty kicks where the Croatian club won 3-1 to advance past Detroit and into the second round for the first time in the tournament’s Modern Professional Era. Baciu’s outstanding performance buoyed Adria, earning him enough votes to be named TheCup.us Player of the Round for the competition’s first round.
The award is voted on by TheCup.us staff and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters.
Coming a close second for the honor was Alencar Junior, who scored two goals for Western Mass Pioneers (PDL) in its 4-1 victory over GPS Massachusetts (USASA). Jose Preciado of PSA Elite (USASA) also received several votes for his equalizer and game-winning PK against PDL side Los Angeles Misioneros.
Baciu won the award due to his undeniable knack for goal. Adria’s target man made Adria’s trip to suburban Detroit worthwhile, putting his club ahead in the 16th minute heading in a corner kick. He then proved a penchant for drama as he coolly netted his second goal of the game in the dying minutes of stoppage time to send the game to extra-time, and eventually penalty kicks. The award is Baciu’s first and the first his club has ever received.
“My performance was the result of a hard-working team, a great group of teammates who enjoy playing together and a great staff and support group,” said Baciu about his performance. “We all had fun and we are ready for the next game. We are going back to Detroit to win, it’s in our DNA.
He added: “I also want to praise Detroit City FC and their fans, they created a great atmosphere.”
Adria, coming off their championship National Soccer League (Chicago) Indoor Season before the first round cup-tie, came into the game as underdogs, but Baciu would have none of it. His brace provided some vindication for Adria’s after their first round exit to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in penalty kicks last year.
Baciu’s two goals put him atop the tournament’s scoring leaders alongside Western Mass Pioneers players, Alencar Junior and Will Daniels, and seem to have set a solid foundation for the Romanian’s next game against the Michigan Bucks (PDL) on Wednesday at 7:30 in Pontiac, Mich.