PST Major League Soccer Player of the Week: Matt Hedges

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It’s a rare week when defenders dominate the Player of the Week conversation across Major League Soccer, but with two goals in Saturday’s U.S. Open Cup final rematch in Utah, Chris Schuler set this week’s bar. Helping his team keep a historic clean sheet, the RSL central defender took home the league’s honor, with his team having exacted revenge on D.C. United, 3-0.

Farther south, however, another defender gave a noteworthy performance, with Matt Hedges’s early goal the first step in FC Dallas’s 3-1 win over Colorado. Providing a key goal line clearance early in the second half, the new FCD captain also contributed beyond the scoresheet. The question is whether he did enough to bridge that one-goal gap between himself and Schuler.

Unfortunately for the RSL defender’s case, there wasn’t much for him to do in his own end. D.C. United, down three goals after 24 minutes, only put two shots on target all night. Beyond his two goals, Schuler was only called on to make three clearances, one tackle, and one interception. A lot of his Player of the Week case is tied up in his offensive contributions, with a vanquished D.C. United failing to offer enough chances for Schuler to bolster his Player of the Week credentials.

Hedges, however, provided more than his score and goal line clearance. In a team that only kept 39 percent possession, Hedges led a defense that limited Colorado to five shots on target, with his 12 clearances, four blocked shots, and three interceptions translating his influence into the numbers. Though Colorado launched 24 shots at Raúl Fernández’s goal, the quality of those shots meant the Rapids never scored from open play. Hedges was a big part of that outcome.

As is the case any time somebody’s case rests on goals, the question is whether anybody make up the gap. Thanks to his goal, his crucial clearance, and his series of smaller contributions, that’s exactly what Hedges did.

Schuler may have had a Player of the Week-worthy performance, but this was not that week. While goals may get the headlines, but Matt Hedges gets this honor.

Miss of the season candidate as Correa whiffs for Sampdoria

GENOA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 23:  Jaoquin Correa of UC Sampdoria disappointed during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and AS Roma at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on September 23, 2015 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
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21-year-old Joaquin Correa may be young and inexperienced, but he may have grown today.

Painful growth.

The young Sampdoria attacker will not want to watch the highlights of today’s 1-1 draw with Inter Milan in Serie A play knowing he could have given his side all three points.

Could have, had he – you know – hit an open goal from less than three yards out. Spoiler alert: he didn’t.

Correa rounds Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic thanks to a fruitful rebound after his initial shot was smothered, but as he turned to face the wide open net, he scuffed his shot and it trickled embarrassingly wide.

Not much more to say about this one than try to put it behind you, Joaquin. It’s an ugly one.

Watch Live: Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Lineups & Live Stream)

MONACO - OCTOBER 01:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur gestures during the UEFA Europa League group J match between AS Monaco FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Stade Louis II on October 1, 2015 in Monaco, Monaco.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Tottenham can go third in the table with a road win today at one of the toughest places to play in the Premier League at the moment as they visit the Liberty Stadium to take on Swansea City at 11 a.m. ET live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Spurs are coming off a massive win over Manchester City last weekend – their third straight victory in league play – but will be without bright new signing Hueng-min Son for the forseeable future after he suffered a foot injury in the victory. Spurs then managed a stout 1-1 draw with Monaco in Europa League play.

They are also without Danny Rose from an injury in that midweek meeting and Nabil Bentalib misses his fourth straight match due to injury, but Deli Alli is fit while Moussa Dembele makes the bench. Erik Lamela is in the starting lineup as he finds himself in fine form the last few weeks.

WATCH LIVE: Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur live online at NBC Sports Live Extra

Swansea, meanwhile, have a fully fit squad eight matches into the Premier League season, and they would move into the top half of the table with a win.

Bafetimbi Gomis starts up front with four goals on the season, but he has not scored in his last three appearances, and conversely the Swans have picked up just one point over that span.


Swansea City: Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Ki, Shelvey, Ayew, Sigurdsson, Montero, Gomis.
Nordfeldt, Tabanou, Bartley, Cork, Barrow, Routledge, Eder.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Alli, Dier; Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane.
Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Carroll, Dembele, Townsend, Clinton.