More than the country’s longest running soccer tournament, the US Open Cup provides fringe players an opportunity to show their worth. In years past, Chad Barrett, Andy Dorman, and Kelyn Rowe have translated good performances into more league minutes. So, which New England Revolution players stand to benefit from this year’s rendition of the tournament? Let’s take a look at the candidates.
With six goals and one assist in six appearances, Rowe is already an Open Cup hero. It’s almost become a yearly tradition that Rowe uses the competition to find his form. There’s no doubt in my mind that Rowe gets the start on Wednesday and it will be up to him to make the most of it. If he does, Rowe could usurp an outside midfield spot or even Lee Nguyen’s central role.
Remember when Neumann was a regular substitute last season? That’s not the case anymore as the Georgetown product has only made five appearances in 2015. Regardless, Neumann’s talent is well-known and a solid tournament campaign could increase his stock. Last year he collected a goal and an assist against the Richmond Kickers. Will he add to those numbers this year?
Kobayashi is another 2014 contributor who has seen his minutes wane in 2015. Last season the Japanese midfielder appeared in every regular season match. This trend hasn’t continue during Kobayashi’s second year in Revolution colors as he’s struggled with injuries. While Kobayashi, 32, is an older player, he still has a lot of gain from good Open Cup perfomances, especially in light of Jermaine Jones’ injury.
Okoli was excited to relocate to New England because he believed he would have more opportunities to make an impact. The 22-year-old has shown flashes in his limited minutes this year, which makes people wonder what he could do during a full game. He could get the opportunity on Wednesday. Okoli is no stranger to Open Cup success as he scored his first professional goal for Seattle in a 5-0 tournament win over PSA Elite in 2014.
We know that Herivaux is set to make his debut on Wednesday, but we don’t know much else. The 19-year-old is comfortable as both a midfielder and defender, so where he lines up against the Independence could be an indicator of projected spot as a professional. The third Homegrown Player in Revolution history, Herivaux is probably still a year or two away from making a regular impact. Still, a good performance in the Open Cup would be good for Herivaux, who forwent an opportunity at Providence College to join the Revolution.