Goalscorers dominated Man of the Match honors over the last week of Major League Soccer, yet to the probable chagrin of those who select each week’s best player, none of the league’s nine (nine!) two-goal scorers reached that magical hat trick plateau. With two assists in a 6-0 win, Landon Donovan ended up winning MLS’s honor, but with two goals from the spot (and Colorado going a man down after 33 seconds), his case may be the weakest of this weak’s multi-goal scorers.
But what of the players who didn’t flood the goal columns? Those designers that create the product before Tim Cook swoops. In soccer, they don’t lurk behind the scenes, waiting for that annual moment when their work is revealed. We can see what the Lee Nguyens and Diego Valeris are up to.
This week, Valeri was up to something particularly impressive. Imploring Portland to one of the more dominant stat sheets this season, the Argentine midfielder set up 12 chances on Sunday, the league’s season high. When three of those chances came good, Valeri had assists on all of his team’s goals, though Portland’s defense, charitable as ever, ensured San Jose left Providence Park with a 3-3 result.
Lee Nguyen’s greatness was a little more spread out, but it was still impressive. On Wednesday against visiting Sporting, Nguyen scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season, turning a 1-1 game against the struggling champs into a 3-1 win, New England’s third in a row. Fast forward to Sunday, and Nguyen’s setting up the tying goal, the first of two in the Revolution’s 2-1 win over visiting Chicago.
Nguyen wasn’t even his team’s best player in that game. Jermaine Jones was. But he was still one New England’s standouts – a necessary part as New England extended their four-match run. Even when he isn’t dominating center stage, Nguyen is flashing his MVP credentials, with his emerging candidacy inspiring pleas to get the 27-year-old involved with the U.S. national team.
This week, those cries highlighted two more persuasive performances, and while neither may have been as enthralling as Valeri’s show in Portland, Nguyen’s contributions over two wins helped earn our nod. If Wednesday’s performance kept him close to Valeri, Sunday’s show put him over the top.
Lee Nguyen is this week’s PST MLS Player of the Week.