Darwin Quintero of Minnesota United FC voted TheCup.us Player of the Tournament for 2019 US Open Cup

Posted by | September 21, 2019
Darwin Quintero - Minnesota United - US Open Cup Player of the Tournament Graphic by Daniel Crooke | Twitter @crooke86

Graphic by Daniel Crooke | Twitter @crooke86

For the first time in more than a decade, TheCup.us has awarded a player who did not win the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup the Player of the Tournament award. The competition’s top goalscorer, Minnesota United midfielder Darwin Quintero, has been voted the 2019 TheCup.us Player of the Tournament

The award is voted on by TheCup.us staff, a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters, and members of TheCup.us’s Patreon team that pledge $10 or more.

Quintero was the run-away winner for the award, besting Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson, Atlanta United winger Justin Meram, and Saint Louis FC defender Sam Fink, who was named TheCup.us Lower Divison Player of the Tournament.

Quintero tied the Modern Era’s (1995-present) single-tournament record with six goals and dished out one assist to lead his Minnesota United side to the US Open Cup Final for the first time. It was the first time that a team from Minnesota had reached the championship game in the 107-year history of the tournament, but they would fall short in the title game, falling 2-1 to Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

He becomes the second consecutive player from Colombia to win the award (Houston Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas) and the third Colombian overall (Seattle Sounders forward Fredy Montero in 2011). Quintero joins Manotas as one of 10 players in the Modern Era to score six goals in one tournament.

Support TheCup.us and its coverage of the US Open Cup by purchasing a "We Want The Cup" shirt in your team's colors. Visit THECUP.US SHOP

Support TheCup.us and its coverage of the US Open Cup by purchasing a “We Want The Cup” shirt in your team’s colors. Visit THECUP.US SHOP

Quintero scored his first two goals against Sporting Kansas City on June 12, with an easy tap-in goal created off a leaping run in to the box from Angelo Rodriguez in the 55th minute. Just 12 minutes later, Rodriguez once again found Quintero, who rounded the goalkeeper, took a couple of touches, and easily put the ball in the back of the net, capping the Loons’ 4-1 victory.

The Rodriguez-Quintero partnership once again came alive in their next match, on the road against the defending US Open Cup champion Houston Dynamo. Down 2-0 in the 66th minute, Rodriguez played the ball through the box to Quintero, who tapped the ball home past the outstretched arms of Dynamo goalkeeper Michael Nelson for his third goal of the tournament. In the 82nd minute, Quintero netted his fourth on a 30-yard blast past Nelson that curled inside the near post, leveling the match at 2-2. A 90th minute game-winning goal by Mason Toye completed the unlikely comeback to send Minnesota to the Round of Eight.

Quintero netted his fifth goal of the tournament early in their Quarterfinal matchup against New Mexico FC (USL-C). With the match tied 1-1 in the 16th minute, Quintero pounced on a shop by Rodriguez that was spilled by New Mexico goalkeeper Cody Mizell, sending it home from the six-yard box to give Minnesota the lead for good in their eventual 6-1 victory.

His final goal of the tournament was perhaps his easiest. In the Semifinals against the Portland Timbers, Quintero sent a ball in the box off a free kick that hit the arm of Timbers defender Claude Dielna, earning the Loons a penalty kick. With Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark guessing the wrong way, Quintero easily netted his record-tying sixth goal, as Minnesota went on to defeat Portland 2-1 and earn their spot in the Final.

In a shocking decision, Quintero was left out of the Starting XI by Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath for the championship game in Atlanta, but eventually made an appearance in the 75th minute.

After the match, Quintero told reporters after the match, “I was very surprised, I was upset, I was frustrated, especially being the lead goal scorer in the tournament, I wanted to be there… (Heath) is the one who makes the final decision. But when someone tells you one thing and does another without telling you about it in person, it hurts.”

Darwin Quintero of Minnesota United FC dribbles against the Portland Timbers in the Semifinals of the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Minnesota United FC

Darwin Quintero of Minnesota United FC dribbles against the Portland Timbers in the Semifinals of the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Minnesota United FC

“We can’t all get caught up in individuals here, guys,” Heath told reporters in the same report. “We are trying to move the club forward as a group, and as I’ve said before, I don’t make decisions purely and simply for individuals. I make them for the good of the club and trying to win and trying to move the club forward. Sometimes when that happens, you have to make decisions that are not popular. I understand that, but that will never change.”

Quintero joins Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Chris Eylander who helped the USL side reach the Semifinals in 2008 as the only two players since 2006 to win the award without lifting the trophy.

Past winners of TheCup.us Player of the Tournament 
2018: Mauro Manotas (Houston Dynamo)
2017: Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City)
2016: Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas)
2015: Krisztian Nemeth (Sporting Kansas City)
2014: Kenny Cooper (Seattle Sounders FC)
2013: Dwayne De Rosario (DC United)
2012: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC)
2011: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders FC)
2010: Nate Jaqua (Seattle Sounders FC)
2009: Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC)
2008: Chris Eylander (Seattle Sounders, USL)
2007: Pat Noonan (New England Revolution)
2006: Andy Herron (Chicago Fire)

Modern Era (1995-present) Single-Tournament Goalscoring record

2019: Darwin Quintero (Minnesota United FC)
2018: Mauro Manotas (Houston Dynamo)
2014: Kenny Cooper (Seattle Sounders FC)
2011: David Bulow (Richmond Kickers)
2005: Herculez Gomez (LA Galaxy)
2005: Melvin Tarley (Minnesota Thunder)
2000: Josh Wolff (Chicago Fire)
2000: Welton (Miami Fusion)
1999: Mugurel Dimitru (San Diego Flash)
1997: Marquis White (San Francisco Bay Seals)

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