Arizona Exports: Cascio in rookie of the year discussion, Cruz does good turns, injuries taking their toll, Robles back in AZ

Arizona Exports is a feature in which we track the progress of those from the state who are playing professional soccer. It is an evolving feature, as we continue to find more players who once kicked it in Arizona and are now kicking it on some of the largest stages in the game. If we’ve left anyone out (and we expect we have), please feel free to leave their name in the comments.

A brief note, all decisions as to who will be featured as an Arizonan will be made by AZKI and can be subject to debate. Commuted through Mesa? Yes. Once threw their brother through una mesa? No. In between? We’ll decide.

Just a heads up, it was a really light week.

Chad Barrett? He took a rest with the best of them.

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MLS

Again, with international breaks and such, not a ton to report in MLS, as the week’s one league match didn’t feature a team with an Arizonan. It was only cup play, which means there’s nothing much to report about Nat Borchers or Barrett.

Last week, I mistakenly wrote that Tony Cascio was out of the Open Cup. He wasn’t, but he is now after the Rapids were dropped 2-0 by Sporting Kansas City. He had a strong first half, with several shots, but was unable to score in the 45 minutes he played.

Cascio continues to have his name floated for the Rookie of the Year award, although it’s still a bit early to start deciding that kind of thing. He gave a hand to the reserves, coming in during the 73rd minute of the squad’s 3-1 Saturday victory against the reserves of SKC.

Alan Gordon played 77 minutes during San Jose’s USOC victory against the Minnesota Stars (see below for Justin Davis update). He scuffed a shot in the first 20 minutes, had another missed shot or two, and put in a really nice pass that could’ve set up a SJ goal but went wanting.

D.C. United are out of the tournament after losing to Philadelphia Union in extra time, 2-1, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort from Nick DeLeon. The rookie headed a cross back across the face of goal to set up Josh Wolff for DCU’s only goal. Brandon McDonald pushed up and nearly set up a late equalizer in extra time, but was then involved in an altercation and was sent off along with Philly’s Carlos Valdes in the 112th.

DeLeon also played 66 minutes in a reserve match Saturday – a 4-3 win over Toronto.

Danny Cruz may not have played in the match as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, but he definitely deserves to be applauded (even if he doesn’t think so). While signing autographs, Cruz bought some kids DCU shirts and autographed them. Good on him. He probably made those kids fans for life.

Blair Gavin was cautioned in the 37th minute and made way in the 83rd as Chivas USA got a 2-1 win against the Carolina RailHawks.

Brad Evans and Andrew Weber were both unused subs in the Seattle Sounders 5-0 USOC romp over upstart Cal FC. Evans joined our podcast last week.

NASL

It was a good showing for Esteban Bayona during the week, though the San Antonion Scorpions couldn’t continue their USOC run. Bayona started in the Scorpions’ 2-1 loss to the Charlotte Eagles and had two shots on goal in his 68 minutes of play.

It was enough to earn him the start again on the weekend, and he didn’t disappoint. He assisted two of the three Scorpions goals in a 3-0 win against the Atlanta Silverbacks before being subbed out in the 74th minute.

Justin Davis got the chance to go up against fellow AZ native Alan Gordon in the USOC. He had a good game, and the Stars were solid in defense, allowing only one goal against their MLS opposition. Davis picked up a yellow card in the 60th minute of the match.

Not sure if it was fatigue from the Open Cup or what, but the previously undefeated Stars were blown out 5-1 against the Carolina RailHawks this weekend. Davis played the full match and had a quintessentially Davis stat line with a shot and a yellow card.

Abe Thompson started and drew a penalty kick (which was subsequently saved) for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers who lost 1-0 despite FC Edmonton going a man down on the aforementioned play. Thompson was the most active striker for the visitors, with two shots.

Josh Hansen, fresh off a very successful stint with the Puerto Rican national team, came on for the final 25 minute of the Puerto Rico Islanders’ 2-0 win against Tampa Bay. Hansen wasn’t able to get any looks at goal in the contest.

As we reported last week,  Jamie Cunningham sustained an injury in the first half of last week’s game. It seems to be a bit more serious than the Islanders had hoped, with Cunningham starting some sort of rehab this week and missing this match. I’ll do my best to get back to you on the nature of the injury next week.

USL PRO

So, no Arizona Exports played in USL PRO this week. I feel cheated.

No updates on the injury Michael Zaher sustained last week, but he didn’t play in Rochester’s 1-1 draw with Wilmington.

Rob Valentino missed a 2-1 Orlando City victory, as he’s been having hamstring issues.

And Irving Garcia and the Los Angeles Blues are still off.

Elsewhere everyone’s season is over, but all three players are potentially on the move.

Luis Robles was back in Tucson this weekend coaching at the Arizona Pro Soccer Camp. He did a Q+A with the Arizona Daily Star in which he confirms he’s looking pretty strongly at MLS, in part because his wife is pregnant.

Nothing to report yet on Mix Diskerud or Robbie Findley.

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