Ezequiel Barco of Atlanta United converts a penalty kick against the Charleston Battery in the Fourth Round of the 2018 US Open Cup. Photo: Atlanta United
There were several exceptional individual performances in the Fourth Round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. This should make for a challenge when the staff of TheCup.us and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters cast their votes for TheCup.us Player of the Round.
While the votes are being tallied up, check out the list of nominees below and tell us who YOU think deserves to win on Facebook or Twitter:
MORE: 2018 TheCup.us Player of the Round winners (so far)
Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United FC, MLS): Barco assisted on the team’s third and final goal (by Romario Williams) and converted the penalty kick (drawn by Williams) in the 47th minute in Atlanta’s 3-0 home win over the Charleston Battery (USL).
Vilyan Bijev (Sacramento Republic FC, USL) – Bijev may not show up on the scoresheet, but he was dominant in midfield for the Republic, both with his tackling and breaking up Seattle’s offense, and sparking the offense in Sacramento’s 2-1 home win (after extra time) over the Sounders. While he did not earn an assist, his play directly led to both goals and he helped a defensive unit that held Seattle to just seven shots, and only one of them required a save.
Diego Chara (Portland Timbers FC, MLS): Chara led the Timbers offense to a 2-0 home win over the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) and assisted on the second goal.
Justin Davis (Nashville SC, USL) – Davis was the leader of the Nashville SC defense that not only shutout the Colorado Rapids (MLS) 2-0, but they held the MLS side to just two shots, and neither one was on target. He also had the clearance off the line that was Colorado’s best scoring chance. On top of that, it was his cross that led to the own goal that opened the scoring in the 38th minute.
Sacha Kljestan (Orlando City SC, MLS): Kljestan assisted on two of Orlando’s three goals in a 3-0 road win over Miami United FC (NPSL).
Ari Lassiter (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS) – Lassiter scored a pair of goals in the Galaxy’s 3-1 home win over FC Golden State Force (PDL).
Jimmy Maurer (FC Dallas, MLS) – Maurer made three saves and faced 16 shots and kept a clean sheet in FC Dallas’ 1-0 road win over San Antonio FC (USL).
Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago Fire, MLS): Nikolic scored both goals for the Fire in a 2-2 draw on the road against the Columbus Crew (MLS). He also converted his penalty kick in the shootout that Chicago won 10-9.
Brian Ownby (Louisville City FC, USL): Ownby assisted on Louisville City’s opening goal in the 11th minute and then scored a stunning goal in the 62nd minute that proved to be the game-winner in a 3-2 comeback win at home over the New England Revolution (MLS)
Diego Rossi (Los Angeles FC, MLS): Rossi came on as a second half sub with the game tied at 0-0. He made an immediate impact as LAFC eared a 2-0 home win over Fresno FC (USL). Rossi scored the opening goal eight minutes into the second half and was part of the run of play that led to the team’s second goal.
Danny Royer (New York Red Bulls, MLS): Royer scored two goals in two minutes late in the game (87th, 89th) in a 4-0 home win over New York City FC (MLS).
Johnny Russell (Sporting Kansas City, MLS): Russell scored the opening goal and assisted on the other one in a 2-0 road win over Real Salt Lake.
Bobby Shuttleworth (Minnesota United FC, MLS): Shuttleworth kept a clean sheet for 120 minutes as Minnesota United finished scoreless with FC Cincinnati going into the penalty kick shootout. He made two saves and faced 15 shots throughout the game. He made two saves in the PK shootout to help Minnesota eliminate FC Cincinnati on the road, 3-1.
Romario Williams (Atlanta United FC, MLS): Williams scored the third and final goal for Atlanta United in the club’s 3-0 home win over the Charleston Battery (USL). He also added four shots (two on frame) and drew a penalty kick in the 47th minute that would give Atlanta a 2-0 lead.