Roland Alberg of the Philadelphia Union scores the first of his two goals against the Harrisburg City Islanders. Photo: Charlie Flowe | OceanCityFC.com
Thanks to his two goals, including a game-winning, last-minute free kick, Roland Alberg of the Philadelphia Union was voted TheCup.us Player of the Round for the 2016 Fourth Round.
The two goals led the Union to a 3-2 victory over City Islanders SC (USL). Alberg is the first outfield player to win the award in 2016, and is the first player from the Netherlands to ever win the award.
The award is voted on by TheCup.us staff and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters. Alberg beat out Diego Restrepo of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) by a single vote, denying him the first back-to-back player of the round victory by a goalkeeper in TheCup.us history. Other players receiving strong support included Danny Szetela of the New York Cosmos (NASL) and David Accam of the Chicago Fire (MLS).
Making his first US Open Cup appearance, Alberg gave Philadelphia a 2-0 lead with a goal right before halftime against the City Islanders. After the Union squandered that lead in the 90th minute, Sebastian Le Toux won a free kick right outside the City Islanders box. Alberg stepped up to take it and curled a beautiful shot into the top corner to give his team the victory.
After the game, Alberg said, “Well, first of all, I was trying to kick it to the corner of the goalkeeper and then last minute my mindset was different, so I thought I would flip it over the wall and it goes in. The feeling was amazing. I’m happy with the win and going through.”
Alberg’s two goals in the US Open Cup were the first of his Union career. He followed that performance up with his first MLS goal in a 3-2 loss to New York City FC, followed by a midweek hat trick against the Chicago Fire. He has not gotten too many chances to play this year, but that might change with his recent success and the recent departure of Union midfielder Vincent Nogueira.
“I am happy today. It was my first game in a couple weeks – couple months…But, today I got my chance and I scored two goals. It’s what I said, amazing,” Alberg said.