For five straight years, Osvaldo Alonso played in the US Open Cup final, a record for the modern era.
On Tuesday, he was given another honor when he was recognized as the Player of the Tournament in a vote conducted by TheCup.US and a select pool from the North American Soccer Reporters. It was the fifth straight year that a player from Seattle won the award.
“I’m so excited to be the player of the tournament,” Alonso said. “It’s something spectacular.”
Alonso had four goals (second-most) and two assists in the tournament and was voted player of the round for Seattle’s semifinal win over Chivas USA when he had a goal and an assist to help the Sounders to a 4-1 victory. He also netted two goals in a 5-0 rout of Cal FC, the USASA team that ousted the Portland Timbers one round earlier to become the first USASA team to score against an MLS club in the tournament.
Seattle would eventually fall to Sporting Kansas City on penalties in the final after earning victories over the Atlanta Silverbacks, Cal FC, San Jose Earthquakes and Chivas USA on their path to the final.
“We are disappointed. We gave everything in that game, but unfortunately we were not the winner,” Alonso said. “We wanted to win four in a row and we didn’t so we have to look forward. The next match is coming.”
Alonso has quite a history in the Open Cup tournament, a unique tournament in US sports that was in its 99th year this year.
The Cuban midfielder was named player of the round for the 2011 Open Cup final, a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire to give the Sounders their third straight Open Cup title.
In four years with the Sounders, Alonso played in 12 US Open Cup matches, including the final in all four years. Additionally, he led the Charleston Battery to the final in 2008, falling to host DC United 2-1. Along the way, Alonso scored a game-winning goal in stoppage time to top the Charlotte Eagles and helped Charleston advance past the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas, then topped the USL Sounders in the semifinal on penalties.
With the win-or-go-home format, the Open Cup has an urgency to each round that is different than other competitions and it is a format that Alonso thrives in.
“Every game you have to do your best. You have to win to get to the next round, so you have to give everything. The players we put on the pitch do everything they can to win,” he said. “I just try to stay at the same level and hopefully next year I’ll do the same.”
Alonso joins a list of Sounders FC winners of the award that includes Fredy Montero in 2011, Nate Jaqua in 2010 and Kasey Keller in 2009. In addition, Chris Eylander won the award with the Sounders in 2008 playing in the USL.