This is the second week where the award goes to someone who got neither my first- nor second-place vote. Granted, it’s easy enough to give it to someone who scores a pair of goals in a 6-2 win. But I gave my top vote to Chivas USA’s Ante Jazic, who took a couple of would-be goals off the line in the Goats’ 3-3 draw with Columbus. And my second went to Kasey Keller, who I thought was especially amazing Saturday — maybe as good as I’ve seen him as a Sounder.
Anyway, here’s the release from the league:
Philadelphia Union midfielder Justin Mapp was voted MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for his two-goal performance that helped his club to a 6-2 win at Toronto in Week 11.
Entering the game having scored just eight goals in 10 games, the Union’s offense exploded at BMO Field. After Gabriel Farfan opened the scoring in the second minute, Mapp intercepted a pass about 35 yards out and headed straight at the center of Toronto’s defense. Mapp used Kyle Nakazawa’s wall pass to clear space for a low, left-footed drive from just outside the penalty arc that beat goalkeeper Stefan Frei inside the right post in the 11th minute.
Up 3-0 at halftime, Philadelphia looked in full control of the match, but Toronto tallied the next two goals. But then Mapp struck again on a similar play, from a similar distance, to his first goal. After stealing a Toronto pass on the right flank, Mapp dribbled to the top of the box, cut to his left and blasted a shot into far side netting. The goal – just three minutes after Toronto had closed within one – was nominated for AT&T Goal of the Week (see below) and proved pivotal as the Union piled on two more to seal its second road win of the season. Philadelphia maintained its lead atop the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of their chief rival, the New York Red Bulls.
The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media. More information can be found at http://www.soccerreporters.com/.