English-born Ghanaian attacker Lloyd Sam has been named in the American Major League Soccer Team of the Week after excelling for New York Red Bulls over the weekend.
Sam, former winger for English side Charlton Athletic, scored the second goal for Red Bulls as they posted a 2-0 win over DC United. The goal was his second of the season.
The 30-year-old came close to switching nationality to play for Ghana seven years ago but the process was stalled over his performance which had declined in the English Premier League.
Goalkeeper- Josh Saunders (New York City FC)
New York City maintained their unbeaten record against Colorado Rapids but they wouldn’t have done without Saunders. The Rapids had 21 shots on goal but couldn’t find a way past the New York keeper who kept his second clean sheet of the season.
Centre Back- Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids)
At the other end of the pitch rookie Axel Sjoberg was outstanding as the Rapids maintained their unblemished defensive record. David Villa didn’t get a sniff all game and the six foot seven inch Swede was the main reason for that.
Centre Back- Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Two straight clean sheets have helped Vancouver propel themselves into third place in the Western Conference and Waston has been central to it. The Costa Rican international has made a huge impact since arriving in October and was brilliant as the Whitecaps shutout Kaka’s Orlando.
Centre Back- Ty Harden (San Jose Earthquakes)
Few would have expected Harden to be the star of San Jose’s first home match at the Avaya Stadium but he was the difference in his 100th MLS game. His flick on set up rookie Faita Aleshe for the opener before grabbing his first ever MLS goal to seal the Earthquakes win – not bad for a defender!
Right Midfield- Lloyd Sam (New York Red Bulls)
Former Charlton winger Sam was electric on Sunday night – he scored the Red Bulls second and could have had another but for a sprawling Bill Hamid. DC’s defence couldn’t handle the pacy winger and his link up play with Bradley Wright-Phillip’s will be crucial in the absence of Thierry Henry.
Dax McCarty was dominant for New York
Centre Midfield- Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls)
McCarty is the engine room of the New York midfield and he was instrumental in attack and defence in their first win of the season. His raking pass handed Wright-Phillips his first of the season before a heroic block from Perry Kitchen maintained his side’s 2-0 lead late on.
Centre Midfield- Nathan Sturgis (Houston Dynamo)
Sturgis’ first start of the season began in the worst way possible as Robbie Keane nutmegged him before slotting home. However he showed great character and was in the right place at the right time to equalise on 11 minutes – he was a key part of Houston’s improved performance.
Left Midfield- Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas)
With one goal and two assists already this season, Castillo is quickly becoming the lynchpin in Dallas’ flying start to the season. He was a thorn in Philadelphia Union’s side from start to finish on Saturday – his pass set up Hollingshead for Dallas’ second and only the bar denied him adding to Dallas’ tally.
Striker- Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)
Last season’s golden boot winner opened this year’s account at the third attempt as the Red Bulls cantered to a 2-0 home win over DC United. Keane’s side have taken five points from nine so far
Wright-Phillips was at the heart of everything going forward, scoring a sumptuous opener and feeding Sam for the second.
Striker- Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
Last season’s MVP showed why he is still the best MLS has to offer – he picked up the ball on half way, ran 50 yards before embarrassing Sturgis and slotting home.
LA Galaxy continued their stuttering start to the season but their captain has hit the ground running with two goals in his first three outings.
Striker- Octavio Rivero (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Rivero is quickly establishing himself as the best signing of the season – the Uruguayan forward struck deep into stoppage time to earn Vancouver’s second straight win.
He has three in three games and could have had another this weekend, but his flashing volley came back out off the bar.
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