Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Graham Zusi named MLS Player of the Week


Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi was voted Major League Soccer Player of the Week on Monday by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week 10 of the 2013 MLS season.

Zusi played a pivotal part in Sporting Kansas City's first three goals on Sunday in a 4-0 victory over Chivas USA at Sporting Park.

The honor is Zusi's second career Player of the Week recognition and first for the team since he last won the award in Week 23 of the 2011 MLS season.

The 26-year-old playmaker set up Claudio Bieler's goal in the 41st minute yesterday, earning his fourth assist of the season and third game-winning assist of the year (watch here).

Both marks are tied for the League lead in 2013. Zusi also moved into sole possession of fifth place on KC's all-time assist chart with 27 regular season assists in his MLS career, breaking a tie with Josh Wolff.

In the 54th minute on Sunday, Zusi played a well-weighted pass to Paulo Nagamura behind the Chivas USA backline that proved to be the decisive play in a sequence that ended with Nagamura being fouled inside the penalty area.

Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was sent off for the offense and Bieler scored from the penalty spot for the game's second goal.

Zusi capped his strong performance with a goal in the 65th minute on a sliding, first-time finish at the near post (watch here). His third goal of the season and 14th of his MLS career was the 750th regular season goal in team history.

The University of Maryland product, now in his fifth professional season, exited the match in the 67th minute and was credited him with five key passes by Opta. No other player on the field logged more than one key pass on Sunday.

Zusi has appeared in each of the United States last six FIFA World Cup qualifiers and has made 10 total appearances for the U.S. Men's National Team.

He led the League in 2012 with a career-high 15 assists to earn MLS Best XI and All-Star honors.