Call me a big ol’ wussie, but I came this close to pulling the trigger on a real shocker and naming Toronto’s Terry Dunfield as my Player of the Week.
In the end, I chose one of the two guys everyone else is probably going to choose. What can I say?
It’s something of a journalistic conundrum we sometimes find ourselves in. Perhaps Dunfield, a defensive midfield destroyer for Toronto FC, deserved the honor more than David Beckham (and more than hat trick man Chris Wondolowski, for that matter).
It’s a little hard to explain, but when the public perception and admiration tilts too far to one side, as it will this week with a luminary such as Beckham, any attempts to recognize someone else gets lost in the controversy and debate. (Not to be presumptuous; I doubt too many bar fights will start tonight over the ProSoccerTalk MLS Player of the Week, although one never knows …)
So, I chose Beckham – offered up with a side dish of Dunfield.
We’ll start here: Yes, I’m talking about that Terry Dunfield. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.
The Canadian journeyman put in an amazing amount of the lesser seen, lesser studied, lesser YouTubed midfield work over two wins for Toronto.
Yes, I said two wins for Toronto. The team that started on an abysmal 0-9 downfall, the worst launch for any club over 17 MLS seasons, just won two matches consecutively. Praise be.
Dunfield’s role around BMO is to be the midfield harrier. His job is to run, work, sweat, kick and tackle so that Torsten Frings can do a little less of the same. Frings can organize, distribute and work the passing lanes, then selectively step into the tackles as needed, all the while reserving some chewing power for the juicier bits.
And what a couple of nights Dunfield had last week. In last week’s win over Vancouver, Dunfield’s old team, he turned up with a truly magic moment, a last-gasp header that provided the margin in a 3-2 win.
Four nights later on the road, Dunfield was all hustle and bustle once again, bothering and tackling the New England attackers through the middle third. That’s not just my opinion, either. Veteran soccer writer Kyle McCarthy, working in this case for MLSSoccer.com, named Dunfield as one of his Men of the Match; when McCarthy’s keen eye says so, you can believe it.
Playing 180 minutes over four nights is tough for anyone. Playing 180 minutes over four nights for a man whose job exacts such a physical tax, and doing it well, is nothing short of remarkable.