Though only two USL Championship clubs have (so far) advanced past the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup (with the Charleston Battery facing Atlanta United on Thursday night), a number of players stood out by balling out against MLS opposition.
Here are eight players who showed next-level talent from USL sides this week:
New Mexico United | Forward | 24 years old
Down 2-1 in the fifth minute of stoppage time against the Colorado Rapids, Frater stepped up and laced a golazo into the bottom corner from outside the 18-yard box to send the traveling New Mexico fans to pandemonium. New Mexico would go on to win in penalties, where Frater buried his spotkick.
To point to just one moment, though, would fail to encapsulate the Jamaican's overall stamp on the game. Though a forward, he played underneath strike partner Devon Sandoval and was useful in possession, dropping deep to set tempo at times.
New Mexico United | Winger | 25 years old
Another key contributor in New Mexico's cupset of the Rapids, Moar was New Mexico's creative outlet. The Spaniard thrived in quick combination around the box, looking on the precipice of creating a shot for himself or a teammate often. He was completed all five of his attempted dribbles.
Moar was drafted by the Philadelphia Union in the fourth round of the 2017 SuperDraft then made 65 appearances over two seasons for the Bethlehem Steel before joining New Mexico ahead of the 2019 season.
Louisville City | Center midfielder | 26 years old
Rasmussen was ever-present in attack and defense in Louisville City's 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati, as the midfielder provided an assist as well as three tackles and four recoveries.
USL powerhouse Louisville City have provided MLS with talent in recent years, from LAFC standout Mark-Anthony Kaye to Orlando City SC head coach James O'Connor. Rasmussen was also a product of the Nordsjaelland academy.
Austin Bold | Defensive midfield | 31 years old
Baez's deflected free kick launching a comeback for the Bold, who fell 3-2 to the Houston Dynamo. The defensive midfielder had two tackles and nine recoveries and completed 45 of his 52 passes.
Prior to signing in Austin, Baez spent his career in Liga MX. He made 205 appearances for Chivas de Guadalajara, as well as stints at Cruz Azul, Necaxa and Toluca.
Austin Bold | Central midfielder | 32 years old
Guadarrama proved a nuisance for the Dynamo to deal with, making three key passes, completing two dribbles and drawing four fouls. He, too, spent the majority of his career in Mexico before coming to USL, enjoying stints at CF Atlante, Necaxa and many other Mexican sides.
Saint Louis FC | Goalkeeper | 26 years old
Saint Louis FC needed a herculean effort from goalkeeper Tomas Gomez between the posts, and, well, that's what they got. Gomez had eight saves, including that incredible triple-save (above). The Fire could only find a way past him from the penalty spot.
Saint Louis FC | Central midfield | 26 years old
To aid in Gomez's heroics, Umar patrolled the center of the park for Saint Louis against Chicago. He misplaced just one pass, made four interceptions, five recoveries and four clearances.
Sacramento Republic | Winger | 23 years old
If you watched Sacramento's thrilling 4-3 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes with the volume on, you heard Werner's name a number of times. The winger was a menace all night long with a goal and two key passes.
Werner was a product of the Portland Timbers academy before starring at Stanford University.