AZUSA, Calif.-- It’s been a big year for Azusa Pacific alums. First Vinicius Dantas made his debut in Europe, playing on Norway’s Premier League team Molde FK. Then Dominique Johnson made the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves’ training camp, nearly earning a spot on the squad before playing in the Development League for the Texas Legends where he averaged 12.9 points per game. On the diamond Stephen Vogt and Kirk Nieuwenhuis made their Major League Baseball debuts for the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Mets respectively, while gold medalist decathlete Brian Clay is training to qualify for his third straight spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
And now a pair of former Cougar soccer players have made their mark on the pitch as Andriy Budnyy and Steven Lenhart have each helped their teams to hot starts. Lenhart, a forward for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes, has been integral in his teams’ seven match unbeaten streak. In last night’s 5-3 win over D.C. United he bagged his second two-goal performance in five days, helping the Quakes to a 5-3 victory.
On April 28th Lenhart led his team to a 2-1 win over Phladelphia Union after he scored the first goal of the day before heading in the game-winner three minutes into stoppage time to hold off Union. In seven matches this year Lenhart has four goals on 16 shots, helping the Quakes to a spot atop the Western Conference standings with a 7-1-1 record (22 points) through nine matches.
Budnyy, a forward for the United Soccer League’s Wilmington Hammerheads, scored twice against Antigua Barracuda FC in his team’s 3-0 win; giving the striker three goals in two days. Budnyy now ranks second in the USL in points (six) through four matches, as the Hammerheads sit in fourth place at 4-2-1 (seven points).
This weekend the former Cougar will be making a homecoming of sorts as Wilmington takes on the Los Angeles Blues at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal State Fullerton. The Hammerheads and Blues will square off on Friday at 5:00 p.m. before the two teams meet again on Sunday for a 5:00 p.m. start.