Who should win TheCup.us Player of the Tournament for 2015 US Open Cup?

Posted by | October 13, 2015
Sporting Kansas City celebrates the club's third US Open Cup title. Photo: Bob Larson

Sporting Kansas City celebrates the club’s third US Open Cup title. Photo: Bob Larson

Since 2006, TheCup.us has awarded a Player of the Tournament award for the most outstanding player of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. This year’s voting, conducted by TheCup.us staff and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters, is expected to be dominated by Major League Soccer (MLS) players since this was just the third year since MLS joined the tournament in 1996 that a lower division team failed to reach the Quarterfinals. Not to say that there weren’t exceptional performances, but no lower division team won more than three games, so it will be difficult to overcome performances that led to teams reaching the Semifinals, Final or resulting in the lifting of a trophy.

Last year, Kenny Cooper led the tournament in scoring and won the award despite not playing in the Final. In 2013, Dwayne De Rosario carried DC United to one of the most improbable Open Cup titles in history. Osvaldo Alonso won in 2012 despite the Sounders not winning the championship, proving that the award is usually given to players based on their body of work and not necessarily given to a player that wins the title.

Here are a list of candidates below (listed alphabetically). Take a look at each resume and tell us who you think should win in the comments or on social media (Twitter / Facebook). Please consider the lower division nominees as well, (you can find that list HERE).

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Matt Besler (Sporting KC, MLS)

FOURTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes and held the opposition to just 2 shots (0 saves made) in a 1-0 home win vs. Saint Louis FC (USL).

FIFTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes, defense allowed two goals, while allowing nine shots and forcing three saves in a 6-2 home win vs. FC Dallas (MLS).

QUARTERFINALS: Played all 90 minutes, assisted on the opening goal, defense only allowed four shots and only two saves needed to be made in KC’s 3-1 home win vs. Houston Dynamo (Who received a red card in the 30th minute).

SEMIFINALS: Played all 90 minutes, and held opposition to just seven shots (two saves made) in a 3-1 home win vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS).

FINAL: Played all 120 minutes and held opposition to 13 shots (eight saves made) in a 1-1 road draw vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS). KC won 7-6 in PKs and Besler converted his fourth round attempt.

NOTE: Played every minute of every game in 2015 tournament.

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Dom Dwyer (Sporting KC, MLS)

FOURTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes in a 1-0 home win vs. Saint Louis FC (USL).

FIFTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes, scored four goals (1st-ever KC hat trick in USOC play, 12th Modern Era player to score 4+ goals in a game) in a 6-2 home win vs. FC Dallas (MLS) – Voted TheCup.us Player of the Round.

QUARTERFINALS: Played all 90 minutes, scored one goal and assisted on another in KC’s 3-1 home win vs. Houston Dynamo (Who received a red card in the 30th minute).

SEMIFINALS: Played all 90 minutes in a 3-1 home win vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS).

FINAL: Played all 120 minutes in a 1-1 road draw vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS). KC won 7-6 in PKs and Dwyer converted his second round attempt.

NOTE: Played every minute of every game. Tied for the tournament lead in goals (5) and points (11) with Krisztian Nemeth

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Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union, MLS)

FOURTH ROUND: Played all 120 minutes in a 0-0 home draw vs. Rochester Rhinos (USL). Philly won 3-1 in PKs and Edu converted his first round attempt.

FIFTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes in a 2-1 home win vs. DC United (MLS) — Note: Philly’s CJ Sapong received a red card in the 24th minute.

QUARTERFINALS: Played all 120 minutes in a 1-1 road draw vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS). Philly advanced 4-3 in PKs and Edu scored on his third round attempt — Note: Philly’s Conor Casey received a red card in the 40th minute.

SEMIFINALS: Played all 90 minutes and held opposition to three total shots (two saves made) in a 1-0 home win vs. Chicago Fire (MLS).

FINAL: Played all 120 minutes, held opposition to 10 total shots (four saves made) in a 1-1 home draw vs. Sporting KC (MLS). KC won 7-6 in the shootout and Edu missed his third round attempt.

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Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC, MLS)

FOURTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes and assisted on the game-winning goal in KC’s 1-0 home win vs. Saint Louis FC (USL).

FIFTH ROUND: Started, played 62 minutes and assisted on the first two goals in KC’s 6-2 home win vs. FC Dallas (MLS).

QUARTERFINALS: Played all 90 minutes and scored the opening goal in KC’s 3-1 home win vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS).

SEMIFINALS: Played all 90 minutes, scored one goal and assisted on another in KC’s 3-1 home win vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS). Voted TheCup.us Player of the Round.

FINAL: Played all 120 minutes in KC’s 1-1 road draw vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS). KC won 7-6 in PKs and Feilhaber converted his first round attempt.

NOTE: Tied for the tournament lead with four assists

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Cristian Maidana (Philadelphia Union, MLS)

FOURTH ROUND: Played all 120 minutes in a 0-0 home draw vs. Rochester Rhinos (USL). Philly won 3-1 in PKs.

FIFTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes and assisted on the game-winning goal in a 2-1 home win vs. DC United (MLS). Note: Philly’s CJ Sapong received a red card in the 24th minute.

QUARTERFINALS: Started and played 77 minutes in a 1-1 road draw vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS). Philly advanced 4-3 in PKs. Note: Philly’s Conor Casey received a red card in the 40th minute.

SEMIFINALS: Played all 90 minutes in a 1-0 home win vs. Chicago Fire (MLS).

FINAL: Started and played 77 minutes in a 1-1 home draw vs. Sporting KC (MLS). KC won 7-6 in a PK shootout

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John McCarthy (Philadelphia Union, MLS)

FOURTH ROUND: Played all 120 minutes and made five saves (10 shots faced) in a 0-0 home draw vs. Rochester Rhinos (USL). Philly won 3-1 in PKs and he made 3 saves. (5th Modern Era GK to make 3 saves in a shootout)

FIFTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes and made six saves (14 shots faced) in a 2-1 home win vs. DC United (MLS). Note: Philly’s CJ Sapong received a red card in the 24th minute.

QUARTERFINALS: Played all 120 minutes and made nine saves (34 shots faced) in a 1-1 road draw vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS). Philly advanced 4-3 in PKs and McCarthy made 1 save in the shootout. Note: Philly’s Conor Casey received a red card in the 40th minute) – Named TheCup.us Player of the Round

SEMIFINALS: Played all 90 minutes and made two saves (three shots faced) in a 1-0 home win vs. Chicago Fire (MLS).

FINAL: Came off the bench in the final minute of extra time to take part in the PK shootout with the game finishing 1-1. In the PK shootout, he made 1 save but KC prevailed 7-6.

NOTE: McCarthy is just the 4th Modern Era GK to win multiple PK shootouts in one tournament

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Tim Melia (Sporting KC, MLS)

FOURTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes and earned the clean sheet while only facing two shots and not making a single save in a 1-0 home win vs. Saint Louis FC (USL).

FIFTH ROUND: Played all 90 minutes and allowed two goals while making three saves on nine shots faced in a 6-2 home win vs. FC Dallas (MLS).

QUARTERFINALS: Played all 90 minutes and allowed one goal while making two saves on four shots faced in a 3-1 home win vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS).

SEMIFINALS: Played all 90 minutes and allowed one goal while making two saves on seven shots faced in a 3-1 home win vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS).

FINAL: Played all 120 minutes and allowed one goal while making eight saves on 13 shots faced in a 1-1 road draw vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS). KC won 7-6 in PKs and Melia made two saves in the PK shootout. Melia was voted the Player of the Round.

NOTE: Eighth goalkeeper in the Modern Era to start every match and win a US Open Cup title (first since Kasey Keller in 2009). Also, he is the first goalkeeper in the Modern Era to play for an amateur team (Long Island Rough Riders) in the tournament and later win a US Open Cup title with a MLS team

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Krisztian Nemeth (Sporting KC, MLS)

FOURTH ROUND: Did not play

FIFTH ROUND: Started, played 75 minutes and scored two goals in KC’s 6-2 home win vs. FC Dallas (MLS).

QUARTERFINALS: Started, played all but one minute, scored one goal and assisted on another in KC’s 3-1 home win vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS).

SEMIFINALS: Started, played 87 minutes, scored one goal in KC’s 3-1 home win vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS).

FINAL: Played all 120 minutes, scored KC’s lone goal in a 1-1 road draw vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS). KC won 7-6 in PKs and Nemeth had his third round attempt saved.

NOTE: Tied a Modern Era record by scoring in four straight USOC games. Tied for the tournament lead in goals (5) and points (11) with teammate Dom Dwyer.

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Past winners of TheCup.us Player of the Tournament

2014: Kenny Cooper (Seattle Sounders)
2013: Dwayne De Rosario (DC United)
2012: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders)
2011: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders)
2010: Nate Jaqua (Seattle Sounders)
2009: Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders)
2008: Chris Eylander (Seattle Sounders)
2007: Pat Noonan (New England Revolution)
2006: Andy Herron (Chicago Fire)

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