There are few things that professional soccer players enjoy more than silencing their critics and for Jozy Altidore, boy are there plenty of critics. But when you put your team on your back, score a brace against your former club and secure your team’s spot in the post-season, the silence must be golden.
Total MLS’ Offensive Player of the Week is Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore.
Jozy’s slow start to the season, his injury prone hamstrings and his lack of finishing ability were all the rage around the league. And it wasn’t completely unwarranted. As a DP striker making the money he’s making, production is a demand, not a request. Turning it around is an understatement. Altidore’s dominant performance against a tough opponent and former team of his in the Red Bulls was a sight to be seen. It wasn’t a one off either.
Since returning from a hamstring injury that kept him out for several weeks, Jozy has scored 8 goals in 9 matches and is one of the hottest strikers in the league. But it’s also his intangibles. His movement both on and off the ball has been excellent. His hold up play and smart passing has worked wonders.
And who would’ve thought the man was also a free-kick specialist? Seba better watch out.
After seeing his team go down 3-1 early in the 2nd half of Sunday night's game, Jozy dragged TFC to a result, scoring that sublime free-kick and then adding a second in the 86th minute to put the Reds into the playoffs for the second consecutive season. He could’ve netted a hattrick as well but after rounding Luis Robles in the first half, his shot hit the outside of the mesh. Jozy’s back, and when Jozy’s healthy, the league should take notice.
To put it mildly, the Houston Dynamo are not having a very good season. Sitting dead last in the Western Conference and just 2 points up on Chicago for 2nd last in the league, playoffs are likely out of the picture. From here on, it's the Dynamo’s opportunity to play spoiler, and spoiler they played on Saturday night at Rio Tinto.
Total MLS’ Defensive Player of the Week is Houston Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley.
Real Salt Lake are perennial MLS Cup contenders, and they also just so happened to be undefeated on home field this season. That was until Saturday.
When Alex opened the scoring in the 36th minute, Houston commenced bus parking early.
Beasley’s veteran understanding of the game was a direct reason why the Dynamo were able to hold on, despite RSL’s relentless pursuit of an equalizer. Statistically speaking, Beasley’s defensive numbers were phenomenal. Besides his numerous successfully completed passes, DaMarcus made 6 recoveries, 2 key interceptions late in the match, and 3 very critical clearances from inside his own 18 yard box. I think it’s safe to say that if he was having an off night, the Dynamo probably wouldn’t have walked out of Rio Tinto with all 3 points.