Graphic by Dallas Kreil | IG: @dak_design
When the Richmond Kickers announced the loan signing of Charles Boateng, coach David Bulow said that the Ghanaian striker is a player few would know but one no-one would forget. The 21-year-old announced himself in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup First Round scoring four goals against Virginia United.
After becoming the first player to score four goals in the US Open Cup since Dom Dwyer in 2015, Boateng has been voted TheCup.us Player of the Round. The award is voted on by TheCup.us staff and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters and select backers (those that pledge $10 or more) of TheCup.us’ Patreon.
Boateng finished just ahead of NTX Rayados’ Mariano Fazio. Fazio – the younger brother of AS Roma’s Federico Fazio – assisted the Rayados’ opening goal and tied the game at 2-2 in the dying seconds before scoring the winning penalty kick.
Other players nominated included El Faralito’s Leonardo Fredes, Cal FC’s Orr Barrouch, and Bryant Martin of Florida Soccer Soldiers. Fredes made ESPN’s SportCenter Top 10 with his spectacular bicycle kick to seal a 2-1 win over Academica SC while breaking his arm in the process. Orr Barrouch was merely a step behind Boateng as the Israeli scored a hat-trick in Cal FC’s 5-1 win over FC Mulhouse Portland. Martin was nominated on the back of a string of saves to prevent NPSL champions Miami FC from adding to their opening tally, allowing the Florida Soccer Soldiers to come back with an impressive 2-1 win.
Boateng quickly gave the Kickers a 2-0 lead after 23 minutes with a five-minute brace. The first goal was a pure striker’s finish, stabbing home Eli Lockaby’s cross. The second was a neat front-post scissor kick to steer Joe Gallardo’s cross home.
With the game at 4-1, Boateng provided quality in addition to quantity as the striker picked up the ball from the center circle before unleashing a ferocious shot from close to 30-yards leaving Manuel Medrano no chance in the Virginia United goal. His final contribution to the game was to finish off a Luke Pavone pass from the edge of the area as the Ghanaian sustained an injury in the act of scoring.
Boateng is just the 12th player to score four or more goals in the Modern Era of the US Open Cup. He also becomes the third Kicker to score a hat-trick in the cup, the last being his coach, David Bulow, at the same stage in 2011. McColm Cephas was the first to do it in the Third Round of the 2005 tournament.