Scott Goodwin, the Carolina Railhawks’ rookie backup goalkeeper is using the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament as his own personal coming-out party, and quickly proving he deserves first team minutes in the process.
After leading the RailHawks to victories in the US Open Cup’s Third and Fourth Round, the University of North Carolina graduate put in the finest shift of his young professional career in a 1-0 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy in Cary, NC. The victory sends the NASL club through to the Quarterfinals for the third time, and earned Goodwin TheCup.us Player of the Round honors. Goodwin becomes the second goalkeeper (PSA Elite’s Earl Edwards Jr.) to earn the award in 2014.
The award is voted on by TheCup.us staff and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters.
Goodwin ran away with the award due to his admirable poise and netminding against the Galaxy, who fielded a mostly first-choice team in their attempt to avoid a third straight upset to the second division side. Goodwin’s Player of the Round snub last round made the Railhawks goalkeeper’s performance hard to ignore this time around, as he clearly outpaced the other star performers of the Fifth Round. The Philadelphia Union’s Sebastien Le Toux record-tying brace and the Chicago Fire’s Juan Luis Anangono‘s impressive work off the bench received considerable attention, but ultimately did not garner enough votes to snatch the award way from Goodwin. The Portland Timbers’ Gaston Fernandez also received several votes for his two goals against Sporting Kansas City.
Goodwin proved the difference in the Railhawks matchup against the Galaxy, who gave Robbie Keane his first-ever US Open Cup start. Under siege the entire game from Los Angeles, Goodwin faced 30 shots and saved all eight shots on goal of them in 120 minutes of work ensuring the RailHawks a third consecutive victory over the Galaxy in Open Cup play.
“It was a really exciting game, I really can’t be more proud of my teammates,” said Goodwin. “I think everyone just put out an incredible effort to keep the ball out and maintain our composure and took advantage of the opportunity we had, so you really have to give it up to them.”
In a first half dominated by the Galaxy, Goodwin continually snuffed out the MLS club’s attacks leading the RailHawks into the half level with Los Angeles 0-0. All Goodwin did in the second half was put on a performance that proved he belonged in net by saving shots from Landon Donovan in the 84th minute and Robbie Keane in the 90th.
The Raleigh native held steadfast in extra time as well. After Daniel Jackson put the Railhawks up 1-0 in the 105th minute, Goodwin held off a continued Galaxy onslaught. Goodwin made another save against Keane in the 117th, which proved to be enough to make Jackson’s strike the game-winner.
“I thought I had a good solid game,” Goodwin said about his performance. “Any time you keep a shutout against guys like that, the majority has to really be put on the guys in front of me, but I felt that I had a solid game.”
The Railhawks game against the Galaxy was just Goodwin’s third game as a pro. The UNC standout and 2011 College Cup champion made his Carolina debut during the club’s Open Cup Third Round game against the Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) after signing with the NASL club in January and spending a season in Iceland with IF Hottur.
In his American professional debut, all Goodwin did was make five saves and record a shutout in the Railhawks’ 2-0 win over the Eagles. Goodwin’s performance coupled with an injury to starting goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald saw the Chapel Hill product claim his second consecutive start in this year’s tournament when the Railhawks met Chivas USA in the Fourth Round. Goodwin built upon his fine performance against Charlotte guiding the Railhawks to another win after making 11 saves in 120 minutes of work capped by three additional saves in the game’s penalty shootout nearly earning Player of the Round honors in the process. Deshorn Brown’s hat-trick performance against Orlando City SC ultimately captured the award for the Fourth Round.
Goodwin’s pair of outstanding performances more than earned him a chance to take on a full strength Galaxy team. His play against Los Angeles and his string of performances are sure to catch the attention of clubs throughout the country.
“It’s about as good of a start as I could have hoped for,” Goodwin said. “In professional sports, you’re just waiting for your opportunity and you never know when that’s going to happen. What it’s really all about is getting as far as we can in the Open Cup, it’s not about any one individual. We went into this tournament not to just win a couple games, but to take it all the way to the end. At the end of the day, my performance is just a piece of the puzzle and we’re just trying to get on to the next round.”
Goodwin and the Railhawks will look to continue their run in the tournament when they host FC Dallas on July 9 in Cary.
2014 TheCup.us Player of the Round winners
Round 1: Vlad Baciu (RWB Adria – USASA)
Round 2: Luke Winter (Chattanooga FC – NPSL)
Round 3: Earl Edwards Jr. (PSA Elite – USASA)
Round 4: Deshorn Brown (Colorado Rapids – MLS)
Round 5: Scott Goodwin (Carolina RailHawks – NASL)
Recent Goalkeepers to win TheCup.us Player of the Round
2014 Round 5: Scott Goodwin (Carolina RailHawks – NASL)
2014 Round 3: Earl Edwards Jr. (PSA Elite – USASA)
2013 Final: Bill Hamid (DC United – MLS)
2013 Semifinals: Joe Willis (DC United – MLS)
2011 Quarterfinals: Ronnie Pascale (Richmond Kickers – USL PRO)
2011 Round 1: Zach Lubin (Kitsap Pumas – PDL)
2010 Round 3: Tim Melia (Charleston Battery – USL-2)
2009 Tournament MVP: Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC – MLS)
2008 Tournament MVP: Chris Eylander (Seattle Sounders – USL-1)
2008 Quarterfinals: Chris Eylander (Seattle Sounders – USL-1)
2006 Round 3: Jesse Llamas (Dallas Roma FC – USASA)
HIGHLIGHTS: LA GALAXY AT CAROLINA RAILHAWKS
MATCH REPLAY: LA GALAXY AT CAROLINA RAILHAWKS