Grinwis – Orlando’s Open Cup SuperheroAdam Grinwis – accustomed to the back-up role in Orlando City’s pecking order – has used his past experience in the Open Cup and his lightning reflexes to help drag the Florida underdogs into the 2019 Semifinals.
The decision didn’t sit well with the hardcore home fans manning what’s known as The Wall behind the opposite goal. “We started to see a few of them running toward the other goal, the one where the penalties were happening, and me and some of the other players started waving them on,” said Grinwis. The fans were still filtering past a handful of helpless security guards when Tesho Akindele scored Orlando’s first kick. By the time Grinwis got himself set on his line, there was a swollen sea of purple humanity behind him.
It took 120 minutes, but @OrlandoCitySC was able to push past @NERevolution for its second-straight quarterfinal appearance. They will host @NYCFC on July 10.#USOC2019 | 📺 Highlights pic.twitter.com/tEowq6h5E4— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) June 20, 2019
It’s no wonder Grinwis woke questioning the events of the night before. This ain’t the kind of thing that happens to him every day. His is the lot of the back-up keeper, fighting every day to be noticed. To crack the Starting XI. To do his part where and when he can as deputy to regular No. 1 Brian Rowe. Signed by Orlando in 2018 from second-tier Saint Louis FC, he had yet to make a single appearance in the league this year before coach James O’Conner took him aside and told him he’d be counting on him to be his Open Cup keeper for 2019. “It’s a funny position, goalkeeper,” said Grinwis, who’s had much work to do in Orlando City’s run to the Cup Semi. “Usually only one guy plays and if he does well, he stays. It’s rare you get a chance to change that, so when James came up to me and told me I’d be in for the Cup games, I was thrilled. Every game could be your last in the Cup. I had to have that mentality. I saw it as a real opportunity.”
He stacked up just fine. Grinwis made a raft of saves in what was always going to be a busy day against the one-time MLS and four-time Open Cup champions from the Windy City. He conceded twice in the surreal environs of an indoor warehouse where the Bucks used to play their home games – known as the Ultimate Soccer Arenas. “We took them to overtime and we got a goal,” he said, still not quite believing the eventual 3-2 result. “We beat them. We beat the Chicago Fire.”
A Sasha Kljestan brace led @OrlandoCitySC to a 3-1 victory over @Memphis901FC— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) June 13, 2019
The lions await Thursday's Official Draw (10AM ET on @opencup & https://t.co/PMU8idFRux) to see their Round of 16 matchup in #USOC2019 pic.twitter.com/GQI7Ng3whf
“There’s a different weight to these Cup games,” added Grinwis, looking forward to the date with Atlanta on August 6 [ESPN+], where he has the chance to be the Exploria Stadium’s hero once more. “There’s nothing but top teams left and everything is on the line and you can feel that energy. We have a selflessness in this team and a unity that’s rare. Just look at guys like Sacha Kljestan and Nani – guys who’ve been top pros for over ten years. Look at how they’re fighting. These are the games you dream about.”