MLS Player of the Week/Weak


There were several quality performances, and some truly stunning goals, this weekend in the opening series of MLS games. Picking a player of the week wasn’t easy, but it boiled down to one player being the leader of a thoroughly dominating performance.

Colorado winger Terry Cooke shredded the Los Angeles Galaxy, scoring the opening goal off a rebounded shot and setting up two more goals in the Rapids 4-0 mauling of the Galaxy. There were better goals scored this weekend, and better assists, but Cooke gets the nod for his overall performance, even if it did come against the team I will from now on call the HerbaLife Traffic Cones (at least until they post a shutout).

SBI will be giving out a player of the week honor every week, as well as a player of the WEAK award for the player with the worst performance. The choice for POWeak wasn’t as difficult a decision. That distinction goes to Galaxy defender Abel Xavier, who delivered the defender’s version of the Nightmare Hat-Trick, giving up a penalty kick (albeit on a weak call), getting absolutely abused on a goal and getting a red card.


Player of the week contenders included Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Wil Hesmer, Adam Moffat and Claudio Lopez. POWeak finalists included Duilio Davino (for his costly error leading to Chivas USA’s equalizer), Colin Samuel (for his missed penalty) and Bakary Soumare (for his own goal).

What do you think of the selections? Who were your choices for POW and POWeak? Share your selections below.

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57 Responses to MLS Player of the Week/Weak

  1. Speedball says:

    My nominee for Playa o’ the Week is Adam Moffat for offensive/defensive brace; scoring the first goal for Columbus and clearing the Toronto penalty off the line to save a goal.

  2. emilio says:

    Good choices, that LA team is a joke. Xavier is really done, and why was Gullit hired, because he was Rudd Gullit, Lalas thinks NAMES win games, his career was about IMAGE and thats why this team will be a failure.

  3. PeteK says:

    Can’t complain with the choice of Cooke. But Blanco as a candidate? Got the goal, but in my opinion, not much more.

    Kljestan was the POW for me. No stats – but was very strong – all over the pitch.

    Soumare had a decent game. POWeak is a bit harsh, and must be only for the own goal.

  4. Ben says:

    can’t argue with that selection.

  5. EDB says:

    I know bakary gave up the OG.. but i think over all he had a nice game. Can we have a terrible ref of the weak too. the RSL and chicago ref was terrible for both sides… he let it play like rugby match

  6. Ives says:

    Agreed on Soumare, nowhere near a game like Xavier, and actually did well, but an own goal is an own goal. He wouldn’t have ‘won’ POWeak under any circumstances but does get a mention.

    Good call on Moffat Speedball, I included him.

  7. tsingletonvt says:


    Any chance you could do the same with Refs? I thought the ref for the Revs game this weekend missed a great game. Some physical play, off the ball stuff, and also a lot of missed handballs.

  8. Evan says:

    Player of the week: Sainey Nyassi (New England.

    Player of the weak: Multiple choice from Los Angeles.

  9. Craig says:

    Ives, any word on Chris Innes from Gretena as a possible signing for RBNY? Bretos said it during the FSC broadcast.

    Another guy on Super Sunday Plus said it would be an english defender who played in Scotland…

    There as also an article in the Austrian press on Ernst Obster from Red Bull Juniors in Salzberg saying Agood bombards him with E-Mails, and he wants to sign here.

    Any update on Marmol? Chicago has been awfully quiet on him, is he our D-Mid prospect?

  10. PeteK says:

    More candidates for POWeak:

    D. Davino – cost his team 2 points

    A. Razov – missed some real opportunities

  11. Steve says:

    I like the idea of a Non-Player of the Weak feature.

    Two refs and a camera angle would be my nominees this week:

    Ref COL-LA (not sure) – that was not a penalty.

    Terry Vaughn Ref RSL-CHI – someone could have pulled a knife out of their shinguard and not gotten called for a foul.

    Camera view in KCs ‘new’ stadium – There is nothing Major League about how that stadium looks on TV. Pretty embarassing for the league.

    It could be absolutely brutal in LA this year. Not only did they get mauled but they created almost no chances with their ‘Big Three’.

  12. kpugs says:

    I promise you guys I am not exagurrating at all here. Abel Xavier might be the worst player in the league.

    This guy was a joke when he was still getting jobs in Europe, and the press constantly wondered why teams were paying him to play.

    I mean, I’ve never seen a defender just stand there while his mark runs around him with the ball in or near the box. I loved that Colorado/L.A. game so much.

    Also, I love how a player (Landon Donovan) is allowed to be completely away from a play, sprint over to a guy and try to fight him without even getting a yellow card. But hey, he plays for L.A. and this is MLS.

  13. PeteK says:

    Wasn’t it Rogers that cleared the ball off the line (not Moffat)? I could be wrong.

  14. KingSnake says:

    There is no such foul as a “handball”. The foul is “deliberate handling”. Important difference. Get the name of the foul correct before you criticize the ref for mis-calling it …

  15. Kyle says:

    No question on Xavier. He caused the foul that lead to one goal, dogged it back on one (he probably could have made it to the goal line before the ball did), and got humiliated on the final goal.

  16. TwistedTidings says:

    No love for Davino as the POWeak?

    The Gals were losing regardless of Xavier. FCD actually held it together, despite Chivas bossing the game for long periods. But Davino, who had a quiet game for a defense whose principal tactic was to get 10 men behind the ball, gave Chivas the only opening they needed.

    I was disappointed with his game before the giveaway, but that sealed it for me.

  17. Ives says:

    I did add Davino, and it should be noted that I called him out this morning so I was aware of his gaffe. Just blanked when posting POW/POWeak. Davino’s definitely first runner-up.

    As for Xavier not costing them the game. That may be true but Xavier is the reason that it was a 4-0 embarrassment that has shaken the team’s confidence rather than a 1-0 loss the team can look to build from.

  18. Jimbromski says:

    I love the guy and he had a great season last year, but Luciano Emilio had a terrible game against KC–poor touches, terrible passing, flaccid attacking. His giveaway at midfield started the sequence that led to KC’s second goal.

    Hope he pulls it together in time for Pachuca…

  19. brett says:

    PeteK- no, it was not rogers…

  20. KCDEFENDER says:



  21. Steve says:

    Rogers cleared one off the line in the second half.

  22. brett says:

    Steve- on the pk?? or a different time??

  23. Reid says:

    KingSnake… who gives a $hit… handball, deliberate handling, fisting, who cares

  24. PeteK says:

    That’s right. Moffat cleared the penalty, Rogers cleared the one off the line in the second half.

  25. brett says:

    ah my bad….

    just saw the pk was in the 1st 😀 moffat did have a goal and pk clearance, id say he was right under Cooke…

  26. Joey says:

    I agree with the selection of Cooke as POW. The entire Rapids midfield looked strong, and Cooke’s goal was an absolute ripper that barely cleared the inside of the post. But people keep referencing the PK call against Xavier that led to C. Gomez’s goal, as if it wasn’t a legitimate foul. People allude to the fact that Cummings bounced right up again. So what if he did? Look at the foul again, it was a tackle from behind that swept Cummings’ legs out and didn’t clear the ball. It doesn’t matter if Cummings stays down or bounces up, it’s still a clearly illegal tackle either way.

  27. joe k says:

    abel xavier is probably the worst defender in the league.

    i’m just glad that arena still isn’t in charge of the red bulls– he might try to trade jeff parke for him.

  28. jake h says:

    How bout a new picture for Terry Cooke!?

  29. Tim Crawford says:

    Yeah, I can’t see anyone better than Sainey this week . . . wow. His defense was impeccable too.

    For Xavier, add that to the fact that I don’t think he was ever getting that red until he bumped the ref. The ref was going to tell him that was his last chance, and instead he acted like a moron and got tossed. Well done.

  30. Tom says:

    I think the POTW was the player who the Rapids were “conned” into taking by DC united – Christiano Gomex #10.

    I’d also give consideration to one of those new africans on New England. They looked dangerous. I bet Taylor Twellman feels better (or bitter) that he is not so essential to the NE offense.

  31. Steve says:

    Better that he’s not essential to the NE (New England) offense.

    Bitter that he’s not essential to the NE (North End) offense.

  32. Kosh71 says:

    Ives, you are spot on with your choices. Man when Cooke did Xavier like that, I was not sure what I was looking at – was it pure class or was it disgusting defending?

    Ives what’s your take on certain Galaxy fans on certain websites demanding that MLS do something (like break the rules in their favor) to make the Galaxy better, because…get this – they are the Flag-ship team of the league?

  33. Gilly73 says:

    Was there a league mandate to not call fouls and to keep play moving along in Week 1?

    I only ask because the Referee in the RSL-FIRE match must have lost his whistle, there were at least 10-15 non-calls that were clearly fouls for both sides.

    Ives – Soumare had a great game until his mishap allowing an own-goal, I would have had him up for FIRE player of the match had that not taken place. (granted there weren’t a whole lot of players to choose from for this other then Blanco as the FIRE looked terrible)

    If the officiating continues like I saw on Saturday there are going to be a lot of injuries this year in MLS.

  34. EDB says:

    The best was when pause basically just ran over a guy after a fire player went down.. and had a look like i bet this wont get called.. and when it didn’t he looked a bit disgusted..

  35. brett says:

    Gilly73- i read an article that said that the league is only going by what the coaches and owners are saying… they’d rather there be more continual play with less stops for minor fouls… double edge sword really… want the game to continue without disruptions, but dont want the game to get out of control

  36. JB says:

    Nyassi put on a display that said to me that the Revs should have sold Twellman to Preston North End.

  37. Gilly73 says:

    Brett – thanks for the link and the information.

    While I agree that diving and ticky-tack fouls have no place in the game, and believe me I know as Blanco is on my team, however this really needs to be watched closely because it opens the door for players to take cheap shots on some of the best players in the league.

    I mean in the RSL-FIRE match players in the second half knew that the ref wasn’t going to blow the whistle and blatantly fouled players or made a challenge for the ball from behind. I would think these are the type of plays that warrant a whistle or a card and that just didn’t happen.

    MLS Execs, Owners & Coaches – Be careful what you ask for as the league popularity depends on having quality players on the field.

  38. GC says:

    I second Sainey Nyassi for player of the week. Houston simply couldn’t handle him and he scored the Goal of the week as well.

  39. eric says:

    I watched some of all the games – thanks Direct Kick preview!

    POWeek – Blanco. Absolute theft of points from a good RSL team, he was everywhere, and when no one else was able to score off his feeds, he did it himself. Honorable mentions to Cooke, Nyassi, and Carlos Marinelli, who ran the show for KC.

    I strongly object to Claudio Lopez as POW, he had a ton of turnovers and looked to slow to take anyone on the dribble. Of course, he added an audacious lob to pull a goal from nothing so I won’t say he looks like a bust, but since he was neither the best Argentinian on the field (Marinelli) or new Wiz forward (Trujillo) on opening night, I object to his candidacy.

    No objection to Xavier as POWeak, unless it’s to share with some of his Gals teammates. I will defend Bakary Soumare though, some guy named Dema Kovalenko hammered a low cross and put Soumare in a nasty predicament running straight at the goal trying to defend. That Dema guy looks useful to have on your team.

    Quick Gals question – last night, MLSnet was saying that Ruiz sprained knee ligaments on that foul that got Landycake’s panties in a bunch. Any updates?

  40. Brant says:

    I was at the Crew-Toronto game, and Hesmer had a heckuva game, but he’d be splitting votes this week with Moffat, so Cooke probably isn’t a bad choice.

    All in all, though, I’d like to nominate the Toronto fans who made the trek to Columbus. Most of the time, us Crew season ticket holder dread large away crowds, because it’s usually Chicago, and they’re usually ill-behaved (chanting “FI-RE, FI-RE” through the national anthem is not a good way to make friends).

    But the Toronto fans were boisterous and fun and drowned out the choir’s rendition of Oh Canada and then thanked the Crew fans after the game for being such hospitable hosts.

    All in all, it was a great opener, and if the rivalry can stay fun without getting nasty, it’ll be a great one.

  41. Mentos says:

    So, I’m a sucker and bought into Direct Kick. These are my thoughts from weekend 1:

    TOR-CLB: So, I settle in to watch the opening match of the year. Pretty good presentation for a local feed. In fact, probably the best I saw of all the ‘locals ‘ this week. Both Teams looked improved. TOR couldnt quite finish, but they didn’t look as completely anemic as last year. Hard to say if CLB is truly a dark horse in the East, or feasting on a weaker team. I think to myself: “Hey, ALL MLS games may be watchable this year if this is the worst it has to offer.” I am quickly proven wrong.

    CHI-RSL: Good Lord. Mediocre presentation. Abysmal field – both in football markings and the turf that sent any long ball flying out of bounds. Mediocre play. But the absolute – and that is saying alot for MLS – absolute WORST officiating I have ever seen. League mandate or not, anyone responsible for this ought to be fired. One telling sequence: As Rolfe(?) was attempting to receive a pass, a RSL player came up behind him, put both arms around Rolfe’s waist and tossed him aside. This player got possession and passed it back. Rolfe(?) sprinted towards this RSL player now with possession and lept into him hip/butt first bowling the guy over – it was a hockey check. Nothing was whistled on either end of this play. Disgraceful. Elbows from CHI players not called. Blatant no-ball-contact lide tackles from behind from RSL players. Ugly in every sense of the word. MLS needs to realize the problem isnt in calling too many penalties, it is in calling too few such that the average defense play becomes a foul. It’s dangerous and does nothing for developing future American defenders to go abroad.

    Ok, that’s alot. More in another post

  42. MasterShake says:

    no doubt Xavier is player of the weak. but you gotta admit that such a terrible penality call would drive any defender insane. even Colorado players were dumbfounded.

    and the red card to Xavier for getting in the refs face? cmon..that was a weak red card and it was a straight red.

  43. Mentos says:

    KC-DCU: I agree with previous commenter on the terrible camera angles used in this game. That and for a period of time I was getting spanish-language commentary drowning out the english commentator. Wish I was bilingual, but I’m not. Amateurish. KC was very impressive, DC seemed uninterested.

    NE-HOU: Wow. I dont think HOU played all that awful, but NE looks plain dangerous. Nyassy and Mansally looked fantastic.

    COL-LAG: Gag. Yes, LA’s back line is awful, however, the back line was just as awful last year and they almost snuck in the back door to the playoffs. I think the biggest mistake from Lalas this off-season is letting Cannon go. At times, Cannon could stand on his head and keep LA in the game (see Final game against CHI last year). There was at least one goal, possibly two last night that a better keeper would have stopped. Wouldn’t have made a difference last night, but something to look at the rest of the year. The Rapids? I guess we’ll just see what they do against a real team next week.

  44. Carl Setterlund says:

    I didn’t see the Colorado game so I can’t speak on that, but I think Sainey Nyassi deserved to at least be considered a candidate. He was dominant. Forget that his goal came in stoppage time, up 2-0. He set up the first goal and dominated the right side all game. Offense, defense, service, everything.

  45. brett says:

    sorry this doesnt go with this topic, and while i cant get on myspace to start a topic due to being at work, this is the closest place and i had to post this

    Vladimir Konstantinov- “I enjoy anticipating what kind of over-the-top swan dive Taylor Twellman might pull in a close game, or how long Landon Donovan will hold his knee and grimace after he trips over his shoelaces. You can make prop bets on those sorts of things, you know?””

    LOL XD

    link to

  46. RedLine55 says:

    I agree with PeteK and EDB…. Soumare should not have been in the Weak consideration. Had a solid game and a small bit unlucky on a wicked low cross. That being said, Senor Blanco probably doesn’t belong in POWeek consideration, either!

  47. brett says:

    RedLine55- Ives already said the Soumare is on the Weak only due to his own goal…

  48. HerthyaBerwyn says:

    Terry Cook has a stare just like Andy Kaufman.

  49. AT says:

    Cook had a nice game against LA, but what a hair-raising picture…yikes.

  50. Mike O says:

    Wow, Ives, do you have any new updates on the Five Points SSS project in Kansas City? They SOOOO need to start breaking ground on that, like, yesterday. I won’t say it looked minor league but I do think I saw Annie cheering on Nuke Laloosh in the stands. Oh well, at least it was nice to see a team from the local rec league get to play on TV.

    Seriously though, the Wizards are going to need to move their little tea party to a bigger house sometime in the next couple years for any games on national TV. Kansas or Mizzou’s football stadiums should suffice. Even a near empty football stadium with turf and football markings but with decent camera angles is preferable to the home video quality of the recording from that facility. Was the Spanish announcer audio intrusion during the game due to them not having a press box? It was beyond weak. I mean it really looked like a scrimmage out there. It’s a shame because KC continues to look like a better than average MLS level side this year.

    Also, I agree with the comments about the laissez-faire officiating for several matches, especially Columbus/Toronto and Chicago/RSL. It also looked amateurish, almost like the refs were afraid to call fouls. If that kind of lack of officiating goes on long enough it can ultimately endanger players and even instigate brawls on and off the field. Considering how relatively tightly most other leagues call their games the MLS’s officiating encourages an overly physical style that squashes instead of rewarding skill and puts MLS out of touch with the rest of the world and develops bad defending habits in young US players. Ironically enough, instead of that kind of officiating opening up play it even ends up shutting it down further. I hate a bad dive and worse theatrics as much as anyone but swallowing the whistle to that extent is counterproductive on the other extreme.

    Okay, complaining aside this was a pretty good opening weekend for MLS. There was good offense and the passing, combinations and touch on the ball seems to be continuing to improve overall for most teams. The pace was lagging but the skill was there. The home fans were loud at every facility and the announcing was professional at every match (though the game announcers in Columbus, while earnest, do seem a little bit unsophisticated about the game). This could be an unexpectedly good year for the league who might not have to rely on pimping out Beckham as much as they fear (well, maybe the Galaxy still will).

  51. David says:

    Hard to ignore Ciarian O’Brian as player of the Weak after getting ejected in his professional debut.

  52. Lawrence Brophy says:

    Cooke was good, but Gomez ran the show. Also, what is John O’Brien up to these days? And what do you think of the idea of promotion/relegation in US soccer?

  53. alex says:

    I second, Player of the week: Sainey Nyassi (New England). In on all the action and scored one hell of a goal.

    Xavier deserves negative POW 10x over. He was terrible.

  54. Dominghosa says:

    holy sh–, I’ve gone back in time.

  55. MZ says:

    this is from march what is it doing here

  56. Jeff says:

    Dr. Who strikes again!