With just 2 weeks remaining in Major League Soccer’s 20th season, the playoff picture is all but clear now. Top teams have already punched their tickets while others fight tooth and nail to extend their season. Our Players of the Week hail from vastly different situations, but their achievements highlight their teams in-form march to the post-season.
DC United’s week began their push for the playoffs at home against Columbus, followed by a trip north to Toronto in hopes of pushing themselves above the thin red line. United managed to pick up back-to-back victories, led by Lamar Neagle’s 3 goals and an assist, in turn scoring himself Offensive Player of the Week honours.
Lamar’s hard nosed attitude and skill led to DC’s domination of the Crew. His 1 goal and 1 assist on Wednesday night led United a 3-0 victory and all 3 points against a Columbus side desperately trying to make up ground. But Neagle was just getting started.
DC has not been a very good road team in 2016. With just one victory before Saturday’s trip to Toronto, United's night was going to be tough against a TFC side attempting to make history of their own. When Jozy Altidore opening the scoring with a stunning goal, things looked bad for the postseason hopefuls.
Fortunately for the visitors, Lamar Neagle still had a bit of magic left over in his boots from midweek and his brace sealed another victory for United, ending TFC’s chances of their first ever Supporters’ Shield, all while giving DC a bit of breathing room above the playoff line.
On the other side of the table, FC Dallas’ hope of a treble was given another boost in the form of a 1-0 win over the visiting LA Galaxy, led by the defensive prowess and goal scoring of our back to back Defensive Player of the Week, FC Dallas defender, Walker Zimmerman.
With the Galaxy hot on their heels for the Supporters’ Shield, Dallas’ showdown with them at home with the matches remaining dwindling down meant all that much more.
Zimmerman was his usual solid self at the back with 3 interceptions, 4 clearances, and 5 recoveries, but it was likely his contribution on the other side of the ball that had FC Dallas fans cheering loudest. In the 39th minute, as Mauro Diaz’s corner was sent into the box, it was Zimmerman who rose highest and headed in the opening goal which also happened to the match winner.