In a week that saw one scoreless draw and only four teams shutout overall, offense was the story of the week in Major League Soccer. Three games featured each team scoring multiple goals, and both Sporting Kansas City and San Jose scored four goals, respectively.
Not surprisingly, all of this week’s nominations for MLS Player of the Week came on the offensive side of the ball. All nominees scored multiple goals this week. But after tallying the votes, the supremely prestigious honor of being named Player of the Week goes to San Jose Earthquakes Forward Steven Lenhart.
Tyler Page put it in the simplest terms: "Hard to argue with a hat-trick."
Goal.com's Bay Area correspondent Nicholas Rosano agreed, stating, "Lenhart took a well-earned hat-trick away from RFK Stadium last weekend, exposing a woefully inexperienced D.C. United defense, and added a very nice assist with a cheeky through-ball to set up Simon Dawkins for what stood as the winning goal. If Lenhart can keep his good form up when Chris Wondolowski returns from national team duty, the Earthquakes may have one of the most potent strike forces in MLS on their hands."
It's not an automatic conclusion that a hat-trick earns you player of the week, but it is certainly a good start. Lenhart looks to be living up to the hype of his afro, as he now has four goals in his past two games. At his current pace, look for Lenhart to score five goals Sporting Kansas City on Friday night.
Other nominations included Vanouver Whitecaps Forward Eric Hassli, who scored what could end up being the goal of the year against Seattle. Color Stephanie Gardner impressed.
"Vancouver's Eric Hassli proved he is a powerful presence on the pitch," Gardner said. "Not only did he earn the tie against Seattle, but he had a goal heard round the world.”
Yet another multi-goal scorer received a few votes of the staff, Toronto FC’s Alan Gordon. Gordon scored late in stoppage time in the second half to tie his former team, the LA Galaxy.
"Notching a brace against his old squad, including the tying goal well into second half injury time is enough for me," Jim Douros said. "But if more evidence is needed, we can look at the fact that every effective TFC attack in the match made its way through Gordon. He was clearly the catalyst to his team getting a result against an opponent and in a park that few do."
David Gubala was just as convinced.
"In desperate times of need, the former Galaxy man really struck the dagger," Gubala pointed out. "After what everyone had thought was an Angel 90 minute winner, there is no better feeling than equalizing against your former team three minutes into stoppage time.
Lastly, the fourth of the multiple goal scorers who earned a vote, came from one of the biggest upsets of the year in the Sporting Kansas City win over FC Dallas. Graham Zusi supplied the fireworks, and Steven Lenhart watched in awe. The grand finale, a beautiful free kick from 45 yards out put his performance among the elite.
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