Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
Not many MLS fans were aware of exactly who Real Salt Lake was picking when the club selected Sebastian Velasquez in the second round of this past January's MLS SuperDraft. They have a better idea now.
The unheralded Velasquez earned a surprise start and was an integral part of RSL's 3-1 victory over the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy Saturday night, winning the season's first SBI MLS Rookie of the Week honors.
Velasquez, 21, was born in Colombia but moved to the United States when he was 2 and holds dual United States-Colombia citizenship, according to RSL. A midfielder out of Spartanburg Methodist College in South Carolina, the diminutive Velasquez started in place of the injured Will Johnson and served in the cross that Sean Franklin hit into his own net for an equalizing own goal. He was also key in helping RSL win the possession battle, proving himself as another capable option in Jason Kreis' midfield.
Velasquez outlasted Portland Timbers centerback Andrew Jean-Baptiste, who scored in his debut against the Philadelphia Union, and New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara, who made a handful of big saves in New York's loss to FC Dallas, to win the weekly honors.
What did you think of Velasquez' performance? Which MLS rookies did you think stood out in Week 1?
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