Maurice Edu, Cristian Maidana, and John McCarthy all received some consolation honors by being nominated for the Player of the Tournament for the US Open Cup yesterday. The full breakdown of why they were nominated along with a quick summary of their work in the cup is available on the Open Cup website, but some highlights and a prediction as to who I think is the most likely to win out of our players is in order. Below is a summary of a summary in case you're pressed for time.
John McCarthy: Penalty kick specialist in this year's tournament, McCarthy played like a man out to prove something. He logged solid minutes in net for the Union, and became the fourth goalkeeper in Open Cup history to have won multiple penalty shootouts. McCarthy also earned Player of the Round honors for his efforts against the New York Red Bulls and was crucial in the semi's against a hungry Chicago Fire team. Unfortunately he couldn't get the job done after being subbed in for the PK shootout in the Final, which might put a blight on an otherwise impressive showing.
Maurice Edu: Every minute played? Check. Multiple television appearances hyping up the Cup run and Cup Final? Check. Mo played some of the better games he's had as a member of the Union, helping propel a team that has had problems holding onto small leads do exactly that. Somewhat surprisingly he provided a good bit of offense for the team as well, burying a penalty against Rochester and another against New York before missing his third attempt against SKC. Some silly red cards early on in the tournament had the Union down to 10 men, but Edu played up to the challenge and was one of the bigger reasons the Union made it to the final in the first place.
Cristian Maidana: Played just about every minute in the tournament for the Union. Had a clutch game winner against D.C. United that saw the 10 man Union through to the quarterfinals. Chaco didn't make a whole lot of noise offensively in the USOC (not as much as he did during the MLS season) but when he put up points they mattered. Consistent, reliable, and a force going forward Maidana is probably not the best option to win the award, but a worthy nomination nonetheless.
Personally I think McCarthy should win if we are only looking at Union players. Just a quality series of performances in high pressure situations from the local kid. It's a feel good story, and he looked great almost every time out. Sadly however, fellow nominee Dom Dwyer had some insane stats and won the tournament with Sporting Kansas City. Not that it's necessarily important for PoTT honors - Kenny Cooper and Osvaldo Alonso won it in the past despite not winning the cup. Voting is taking place in terms of social media, so go tweet @usopencup and let them know who you want to win.