The East Tennessee State soccer standout scored four goals to help the Seattle Sounders U-23 beat Doxa Italia 5-1 in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The former Dobyns-Bennett High School star, entering his senior season at ETSU this fall, netted all four goals in the first half to become the 10th player since 1995 with four tallies in U.S. Open Cup play.
Geno’s scores came in a span of 19 minutes after the University of Washington’s Darwin Jones put in the Sounders’ first goal.
“Everybody played so well today,” Geno said told the Seattle News Tribune. “I was just on the end of some perfect balls in. I had the easy part really.”
“Soccer’s a player’s game,” said Darren Sawatzky, Geno’s U-23 coach. “A young guy from Tennessee came out and said, ‘This is why I want to be in Seattle.’ … If that’s any indication of where he’s headed, it’s a good pickup.”
Geno broke ETSU’s single-season records in goals, assists and points on the 2012 campaign, scoring 11 times while lending eight assists to amass 30 total points. Those marks were some of the best in the NCAA, ranking Geno among the nation’s top 25 in points per game (1.50) and total points, while also finishing top 30 in total goals and total assists.
In his collegiate career, Geno has 23 goals, 16 assists and 62 points, all ETSU program records. All three marks were formerly held by Aaron Schoenfeld, a current member of the Columbus Crew in the MLS.
The 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup features amateur teams from all across the country, plus four squads from the third-division USL PRO. The 36-team competition includes 16 from the USL Premier Development League, eight from the National Premier Soccer League and eight from the U.S. Adult Soccer Association
Three teams are largely composed of college players: the Sounders, the New York Red Bulls and the Portland Timbers.
The 18 first-round winners join 14 North American Soccer League (NASL) and USL PRO teams in the second round, set for next week. The 16 winners there move on to the third round, scheduled for May 28, when the 16 MLS entrants join the competition.
Geno and the U-23 Sounders advanced to the second round to meet the USL PRO's Charlotte Eagles. The game will be played next Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.