Skip to content

Espinoza: Community College to FA Cup final

May 10, 2013, 12:05 PM EDT

FBL-ENG-FACUP-WIGAN-TRAINING Getty Images

On Saturday afternoon at Wembley Stadium in England, Roger Espinoza will likely lineup against Manchester City for Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup final, in front of 90,000 fans and watched by billions around the globe.

The razzmatazz and splendor of that event far surpasses Espinoza’s early days in soccer.

His journey from standout player at Yavapai Community College in Arizona, to one season at Ohio State University and then making it big with Sporting Kansas City in MLS is quite an extraordinary one.

Espinoza spoke to the local media in Wigan, as he prepares for one of the biggest games of his life.

“This was one of the reasons I came here, to be involved in big occasions like this,” Espinoza said. “Obviously I knew I was also coming in to a relegation battle, but I’m just happy to be here and we’ve got plenty still to play for. We have the FA Cup to compete for, before two big games in the league which we really have to win.”

As Espinoza said, Wigan are in deep trouble in the EPL. With two games left they are three points from safety. The defeat on Wednesday was a hammer blow in their efforts to stave of relegation once again, after the last three seasons have seen dramatic  late escapes.

Tuesday’s 3-2 home loss to Swansea wasn’t in the script. Even though Espinoza scored his first EPL goal.

“I was obviously happy to score my first goal for Wigan, I was just sorry it didn’t help us to win the game,” Espinoza said. “Things have been going well for me since I arrived, but I need to finish the season well and help the team push on.”

Whatever the outcome of the FA Cup final (live on Saturday at 12:15pm ET, on Fox) and the EPL relegation battle, Espinoza has come a long, long way since turning out for the Yavapai Roughriders. The Honduran international — Espinoza moved to Colorado at the age of 12 and became a US citizen in 2008 —  is hoping his EPL journey continues past May 19.
(More: Wigan’s defeat to Swansea eases EPL relegation battle)

If not, an FA Cup winners medal would be a great consolation prize after only joining Wigan from Sporting Kansas City in January.

But if the Latics are relegated, should Espinoza remain loyal to the cause?

He only has to look a few miles down the road in Bolton to see Tim Ream struggling for first team action with the Trotters in a near identical situation. Ream was desperate for an EPL move, so joined Bolton from the New York Red Bulls in the January 2012 transfer window. But they were relegated on the final day of last season and Ream now finds himself out of the USMNT picture and on the subs bench more often than not.

If Wigan fail in their quest to stay up this year, Espinoza has a big decision to make this summer. But he can worry about that later. He has an FA Cup final to win.

Latest Posts
  1. MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 0-0 Sporting Kansas City

    May 24, 2015, 12:10 AM EDT

    Benny Feilhaber, Sporting Kansas City Benny Feilhaber, Sporting Kansas City

    To grind out a point in Sporting KC’s current predicament is impressive, but the Sounders were very, very poor.

  2. MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 2-1 FC Dallas

    May 23, 2015, 10:06 PM EDT

    Jack McInerney, Montreal Impact Jack McInerney, Montreal Impact

    Last-place beats 1st-place — in other words, just another typical night in MLS!

  3. MLS Snapshot: New England Revolution 1-1 D.C. United

    May 23, 2015, 9:40 PM EDT

    Jermaine Jones, New England Revolution Jermaine Jones, New England Revolution

    Two New England red cards changed the course of the game, which allowed the D.C. to claw back and steal a point (barely).

  4. MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 1-0 Portland Timbers

    May 23, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC

    At what point is it no longer “early, still plenty of time” for the Timbers? We’re almost there.

  5. La Liga & Serie A roundup: Ronaldo hat trick as Real Madrid score 7; Juventus top Napoli

    May 23, 2015, 6:09 PM EDT

    Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF

    The final day of the La Liga season is in the books. Who finished where, and who was relegated?

  6. VIDEO: Xavi Hernandez makes his final Camp Nou exit with tears in his eyes

    May 23, 2015, 4:19 PM EDT

    Xavi Hernandez, FC Barcelona Getty Images

    After 17 year at Barcelona, Xavi will leave the club this summer. On Saturday, he said his final farewell to the Camp Nou.

  7. Premier League Sunday preview: One last time, with feeling (and drama… and dread)

    May 23, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    150523-Hull-City Getty Images

    All 10 matches will be on the NBC family of networks, so be sure to click and find out where your club is featuring come 10 a.m. Sunday.

  8. Hull City’s Meyler on relegation scrap: “Pressure is for tires”

    May 23, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    during the Barclays Premier League match between  Tottenham Hotspur and Hull City at White Hart Lane on May 16, 2015 in London, England. Getty Images

    “We know we need to win it and we know we’re more than capable of doing that,” Meyler said.

  9. Newcastle’s Carver on relegation fight: “I can’t believe it’s come to the this”

    May 23, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPWI4ZGU3YTY4NDkzMTE1ODIzYzY1NzdlZWIyY2M3ZTE0 Getty Images

    Carver’s bunch has played lackluster football while being waxed by clubs from the top and bottom of the table.

  10. Dortmund exec: Chelsea wouldn’t sell us De Bruyne because they were salty over Lewandowski

    May 23, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    DeBruyne AP

    Would the Blues still be champions with Lewandowski over Costa? Or would they have bought both and run rampant over Europe?

  11. Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Tension galore as finale arrives

    May 23, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Newcastle United v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Getty Images

    PST’s Lead Writer and Editor predicts the scores for Week 38.

  12. Report: Ancelotti already knows he’s likely been sacked by Real Madrid

    May 23, 2015, 11:57 AM EDT

    Ancelotti Getty Images

    The Real Madrid president reportedly met with Ancelotti’s agent to tell him they are likely going to part ways.

  13. Freiberg, Paderborn relegated from Bundesliga, Hamburg in yet another playoff

    May 23, 2015, 11:32 AM EDT

    Stuttgart Getty Images

    Stuttgart won big to earn safety and send Hamburg to another nerve-wracking playoff.

  14. Borussia Dortmund fans pay tribute to Jurgen Klopp with massive tifo

    May 23, 2015, 10:25 AM EDT

    Klopp Getty Images

    The final home match for one of Dortmund’s most successful managers is looking to be a special one at Westfalenstadion.

  15. Report: Robin van Persie offered gigantic contract by Qatari club

    May 23, 2015, 9:34 AM EDT

    VanPersie Getty Images

    The future of Robin van Persie at Old Trafford is very much in doubt as a former Premier League manager has given the Dutchman a very tough decision.

  16. Sami Khedira confirms the obvious, that he will leave Real Madrid this summer

    May 23, 2015, 8:50 AM EDT

    Khedira Getty Images

    We all knew it already, but Sami Khedira will leave Real Madrid after five seasons. Where will he land?

  17. Premier League scenarios: Europa League and relegation requirements

    May 23, 2015, 8:18 AM EDT

    HullCity Getty Images

    How can Hull City or Newcastle avoid relegation? Who will qualify for the Europa League? Find out all the scenarios for the final day here.

  18. MLS Snapshot: Columbus Crew 2-2 Chicago Fire

    May 22, 2015, 10:31 PM EDT

    Toronto FC v Chicago Fire Getty Images

    Final: Columbus Crew 2-2 Chicago Fire

Featured video

PST Extra: Relegation drama on final day