Time was if you scored two goals in a game chances were you’d be in with a good shot at MLS Player of the Week. This second week of the 2015 season Chris Wondolowski scored 2 goals to help the 10 man San Jose Earthquakes grab 3 points away from home in Seattle. Portland Timbers striker Fanendo Adi also hit the net twice against the LA Galaxy, while Philadelphia Union striker Fernando Aristeguieta hit a first half brace against Real Salt Lake, and Blas Perez wacked in two against Sporting Kansas City. You could be forgiven for thinking Player of the Week award would have gone to one of these players.
That was obviously before the current escalation of the aspect of US soccer that I like to call "Money for Old Rope". New York City FC’s David Villa was voted Player of the Week for round 2. Okay, he made an assist and scored a reasonable enough goal but did the whole thing perhaps get a little blown out of proportion based on his resume? Were we all a bit in awe of the goliath that is David?
What if players had to play in MLS for at least one season before being considered for honors? You want to be a citizen, you have to live here for a while. Of course, I’m both joking and talking a load of bollocks, but seriously it irks me to see players who have given their heart, soul, blood, and guts to this league, overlooked in favor of glamorous newcomers like David Villa. New York City seemed to fall to its knees in instant worship last weekend all because he scored what was really only a pretty average goal.
But then players like Villa have a function beyond their ability to kick a ball, a function initially defined in MLS by one David Beckham, and that function is to sell stuff. The faces of Lampard, Villa, Gerard, and Kaka are going to shift an awful lot of jerseys here in the USA this Summer, not to mention no doubt everything from underarm deodorant and insurance to trucks and burgers.
Meanwhile, Chris Wondolowski, who last week marked his 200th MLS appearance with two excellent goals, will be making his 201st appearance for the Quakes at Avaya Stadium at their home opener against the Chicago Fire on Sunday March 22.
By the by, nobody outside of Quakes fans went bananas over San Jose’s new designated player, Innocent Emeghara’s debut goal against the Sounders and that, in the opinion of this hack, was an infinitely more skillful struck and beautifully-crafted goal than Villa’s.