The I.S.A. Collection

Friday, May 17, 2013

MLS to EPL Pipeline Leads to Unique Record

As two significant entities celebrate their anniversaries, one common thread pulls them together.
The Football Association of England is 150 years old while the United States Open Cup (Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup) is 100 years old.
The advancement of players from the 17 year old MLS (Major League Soccer) is a viable route for many players to the English Premier League. Arguably the most popular league in the world, the EPL has recruited several dozen players from North America's top league - including Brek Shea, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Geoff Cameron and Clint Dempsey.
Espinosa wins the Cup with Wigan
Last year's Open Cup Champions - Sporting Kansas City lost Kai Kamara, on loan to Norwich City, for half the MLS season. Honduran International Roger Espinosa (pictured above) was signed outright by Wigan Athletic.
Espinosa accomplished the unique feat of winning the U.S. Open Cup followed by winning the F.A. Cup in successive seasons.

Espinosa's game-worn shoes from the 2012 Cup Final
To our knowledge, only one player - Freddie Ljungberg - has won both the FA Cup (2002 Arsenal) and the US Open Cup (2009 Seattle), although not in consecutive seasons.
There is a short list of pre-war players who have participated in the English F.A. Cup.
None of them have won both the US Open Cup and the FA Cup.
There are several who played in a Scottish Cup Final and the US Cup Final. None have won both.
In the modern era, John Harkes and Kasey Keller have both won the English League Cup and the Open Cup. Harkes was also a runner up in the FA Cup with Sheffield Wednesday.
Espinosa in action for Sporting KC wearing "the shoes"
As more MLS talent goes overseas, it is likely that more of them may win a medal or two. but for now, Roger Espinosa's rare double stands out. Congratulations to him !