Graham Zusi of Sporting KC has won the MLS Player of the Week for Week 23 of the season.
Sporting Kansas picked up six points in the last five days as they beat first Portland and then DC United. Both sides were direct rivals for those valuable play off places. More than that, the surge has given the side a very realistic chance of making the top three in the Eastern Conference, and even the title itself.
Zusi fired in a stunning goal in the 25th minute against Portland from a full 30 yards. 15 minutes later he doubled his tally after pouncing on a rebound from Troy Perkins’ save of a Teal Bunbury effort.
That was enough to win him the award, but Sunday’s vital Eastern Conference win over DC United, the other side experiencing a revival in the East, was enough to edge the Sporting midfielder ahead of New York’s Dane Richards.
Richards was ahead until a late late vote for Zusi swang one of the closest votes of the season.
This is Zusi’s second Player Award of the season after taking the MLS Player of the Month for June. SKC also took the first Player of the Week award of the season but this is their first PotW since Omar Bravo’s opening week triumph.
After Richards, New England’s Milton Caraglio came in a close third followed by three players in equal fourth. Two from Houston Bobby Boswell and Brad Davis, were joined by Portland’s Jorge Perlaza. Juan Pablo Angel also received a first choice vote after a goal on his Chivas USA debut.
Dan Gargan (CHI), Robbie Keane (LAG) and Diego Chara (POR) featured in voters’ second choice.
How we voted:
|VOTER||FIRST CHOICE||SECOND CHOICE|
|Kerith Gabriel||Dane Richards (NY)||Brad Davis (HOU)|
|Buzz Carrick||Jorge Perlaza (POR)||Brad Davis (HOU)|
|Orrin Schwartz||Graham Zusi (SKC)||Dan Gargan (CHI)|
|Bobby McMahon||Bobby Boswell (HOU)||Dane Richards (NY)|
|Elliott Almond||Graham Zusi (SKC)||Dane Richards (NY)|
|Shaun Schafer||Graham Zusi (SKC)||Dane Richards (NY)|
|Michael Lewis||Graham Zusi (SKC)||Dane Richards (NY)|
|Frank Giase||Jorge Perlaza (POR)||Dane Richards (NY)|
|Steven Sandor||Milton Caraglio (NE)||Dane Richards (NY)|
|Steve Clare||Brad Davis (HOU)||Diego Chara (Portland)|
|Beau Dure||Milton Caraglio (NE)||Diego Chara (Portland)|
|Phil Schoen||Brad Davis (HOU)||Graham Zusi (SKC)|
|Marc Connolly||Dane Richards (NY)||Graham Zusi (SKC)|
|JP Dellacamera||Dane Richards (NY)||Graham Zusi (SKC)|
|Jonah Freedman||Dane Richards (NY)||Graham Zusi (SKC)|
|Jonathan Tannenwald||Milton Caraglio (NE)||Graham Zusi (SKC)|
|Scott French||Bobby Boswell (HOU)||Jorge Perlaza (POR)|
|Nick Thomas||Juan Pablo Angel (Chivas)||Robbie Keane (LA)|
|Tom Timmermann||Graham Zusi (SKC)||Milton Caraglio (NE)|
Previous 2011 POTW Winners:
Week 22: Chris Pontius (DC United)
Week 21: Dwayne De Rosario (DC United)
Week 20: Dwayne De Rosario (DC United)
Week 19 Winner: Sanna Nyassi (Colorado Rapids)
Week 18 Winner: Mauro Rosales (Sounders FC)
Week 17 Winner: Fredy Montero (Sounders FC)
Week 16 Winner: Joel Lindpere (NYRB)
Week 15 Winner: Mike Magee (LA Galaxy)
Week 14 Winner: Bernardo Anor (Columbus Crew)
Week 13 Winner: Steven Lenhart (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 12 Winner: Jean Alexandre (Real Salt Lake)
Week 11 Winner: Justin Mapp (Philadelphia Union)
Week 10 Winner: Jeff Parke (Sounders FC)
Week 9 Winner: Justin Braun (Chivas USA)
Week 8 Winner: Joao Plata (Toronto FC)
Week 7 Winner: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo)
Week 6 Winner: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Week 5 Winner: Luke Rodgers (New York Red Bulls)
Week 4 Winner: David Ferreira (FC Dallas)
Week 3 Winner: Camilo (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Week 2 Winner: Javier Morales (RSL)
Week 1 Winner: Omar Bravo (SKC)