Regardless of where you fall out on the whole Garber v. Klinsmann debate — I totally understand JK’s point in regards to Bradley, for the record — there’s very little debate as to whether the talent in MLS should force the USMNT coach to keep his eyes trained on his domestic league.
And while this paragraph is meant to draw your attention to this week’s PST MLS player of the week, there were plenty of players, Yanks and other, competing for the award.
Let’s begin with the overseas nominees (that rhymes):
Let’s start with English attacker Giles Barnes, who just keeps performing in Houston. Sure, his follow-up finish to give the Dynamo a lead over New England had a lot to do with a Revs defender’s decision to stop marking the hustling Barnes, but he has goals in three straight and six tallies since Sept. 6.
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Seattle and L.A. played a 2-2 thriller in Carson to set up a Supporters Shield decider in Washington this weekend, and Obafemi Martins was the force that put the control in Sounders hands. Setting up goals for Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle, the former Newcastle United striker was simply dominant. And let’s not forget Bosnian playmaker Baggio Husidic, whose first half goal and assist got lost in the hubbub of Seattle’s comeback.
Now to the States:
How good was Ethan Finlay? The 24-year-old Columbus Crew midfielder was a human highlight reel in setting up a pair of goals and scoring another in a 3-1 win at Red Bull Arena. It began with his feed to Aaron Schoenfeld to open the scoring, continued with his latching onto a pretty Tony Tchani ball for a neat finish, and finished with a flash: neat combination ball with Federico Higuaín to set up Schoenfeld for the third.
By the way: Whatever Cameroon is thinking by not using Tchani — his choice? — is the wrong way to go about things as a national team. The 6-foot-4 midfielder did wondrous things in the build-up to Finlay’s goal and has been splendid all year long. Is he eligible for the USMNT yet?
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In any event, watch the video and do… not…. sleep… on… Columbus:
While literally any one of those Columbus three could make a case for PST’s POTW honors, how about Lee Nguyen?
The 28-year-old New England Revolution star has been absolute dynamite for his club this season, but hasn’t been capped since 2007 (under Bob Bradley). And he goes his own way — not quite Landon Donovan-style but close — having dropped off the USMNT roster seemingly because he chose to leave Denmark to play in Vietnam when he was 23.
Nguyen scored both of the Revs goals to top Houston this weekend and send the hot club further up the Eastern Conference hierarchy. The first capped off a string of world-class work, from the pass of Jermaine Jones to the run of Kevin Ralston to the slippery move Nguyen used to set up his Upper-90 blast.
Was it better work than Finlay? We’re saying yes by the slimmest of margins. We’re talking as fine as the garlic Paulie Cicero chops for his jailhouse sauce in “Goodfellas”. Clutch from both sides, but Nguyen prevails.