David Accam’s brace in a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew earned the Chicago Fire striker TheCup.us Player of the Round honors for the Fifth Round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Accam’s brace keeps him very much alive in the Golden Boot race as his three total goals is good for second most in the tournament and only two behind leader Edwin Borboa of La Maquina FC, which has been eliminated.
The award is voted on by TheCup.us staff and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters.
Accam narrowly beat out PC from the Fort Lauderdale Strikers with Tyler Miller (Seattle Sounders) and Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union) also receiving strong consideration.
The key factor that could have set Accam’s brace from the others was his spectacular first goal, perhaps the best strike of the tournament. In the 7th minute, Accam found himself at the top of the 18-yard box on the right side. He made a quick cut back to his right foot that left a pair of defenders going the wrong way and sent in a curving shot to the back post for the lead. The second goal came in the 29th minute when right back Rodrigo Ramos sent a cross toward the six-yard box that Accam calmly tapped in for the score.
The two goals were crucial for the Fire as Columbus dominated possession much of the second half and drew within one in the 79th minute when Ethan Finlay converted a penalty kick.
Accam is not the first Ghana native to win the award. In fact, he’s not even the first Ghanaian from the Chicago Fire to win. The last Fire player to win Player of the Round was actually the first Ghanaian to win the award. That player was Dominic Oduro who helped lead the Fire to a Semifinal win over the Richmond Kickers (USL) in 2011. Accam is only the fourth Fire player to win Player of the Round.
Accam’s effort ensured the Fire a spot in the quarterfinals for the 13th time (third most in tournament history) and will give Chicago a chance to make the semifinals for a remarkable fourth consecutive year. If they are able to reach the final four, it will be the 12th time they have advanced to the Semis, which will break the tournament’s all-time record.
The Fire will host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Wednesday, July 20.