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Seattle DP named player of the week

September 20, 2010 | 1:11 pm 2
By Shaun Schafer

Soccer writers continue to be impressed by forwards who score goals, but isn’t that exactly what forwards — especially Designated Player forwards — are supposed to do?

Take for instance the choice of Blaise Nkufo as the MLS Player of the Week, an accolade he earned from the league and the North American Soccer Reporters on Monday. Nkufo, who plays for Seattle Sounders FC, picked up the honor after scoring a hat trick against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. Seattle stunned the Crew 4-0, with Nkufo picking up the first two goals and the final tally.

While a hat trick is always an impressive accomplishment on the field, I am not convinced that Nkufo’s three goals made him the player of the week.

As I argued in my ballot for the week, it was impressive, but overdue work from Nkufo. He failed to land on the scorer’s sheet in his first five games as a Sounder. As someone who can receive bank-breaking money but only count for one-third of a million under the salary cap, he hasn’t been that great of an investment. And, while his first two goals set the tone for the day, his last one was simply a team attempting to get him a hat trick, regardless of the worth of another score.

If it all comes down to goal differential then maybe, just maybe, the money spent on Nkufo and this week’s accolades will have been worth it.

Otherwise, I am having a hard time justifying this selection. Looking at this weekend’s games, I think we had a case where two goals were worth more than three.

On a day when his team was playing poorly against poor opposition and looking ready to surrender three points at home, Landon Donovan delivered salvation. Donovan scored twice in the final 10 minutes to give the LA Galaxy a full three points against a DC United side that had led 1-0 and outplayed the hosts for most of the day.

Someone who can hoist a team on his shoulders and deliver an improbable victory in the dying moments of a match seems more worthy of league honors.

When Edson Buddle was hot to start the season, Donovan was there with the assists. As Buddle cooled, Donovan has stepped up with timely strikes. On Saturday, when no one on his side was playing winning football, Donovan plugged in his goalscoring abilities and delivered a win.

For my vote, he was player of the week. If I had to pick which of these two to have on my side over the weekend, there is no question it would have been Donovan.

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  • Dave Verbonitz said:

    I agree. Landon Donovan’s late-game contributions against DC were nothing short of heroic.

  • Shaun Schafer said:

    Thanks for the support Dave. I think we are a little to impressed by the hat trick.

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