MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 2 – NYCFC defender shines on home debut

For every week of the 2018 MLS season, MLSGB will award two Player of the Week accolades to the previous gameweek’s standout performers. We will highlight one star attacking player, as well as the leading defensive performer from the last round of fixtures. The Attacking Player of the Week award can be won by strikers, wingers and advanced midfielders. While the Defensive Player of the Week award can be won by goalkeepers, defenders and defensive midfielders.

Strong defensive performances were hard to come by in Week 2 as goals flew in across the league. There were a total of 38 goals in the nine games (an average of 4.2 per match) and so this week’s MLSGB Defensive Player of the Week award goes to a defender for his contributions at both ends of the field. It goes to New York City FC full-back Anton Tinnerholm, who opened the scoring on his home debut, helping NYCFC to a 2-1 win over LA Galaxy on Sunday.

The Swedish defender has played every minute of NYCFC’s opening two games, helping the team to two wins. He joined the club on a free transfer this winter, after his contract with Malmo FF expired following the 2017 season. He is the reigning 2017 Allsvenskan Defender of the Year after he played a key role in helping Malmo to win back-to-back titles last October.

And he has seemingly transferred his form to MLS without any trouble. Sunday saw him play at Yankee Stadium for the first time and he made sure he ceased the moment, volleying NYCFC into the lead before helping to stop LA Galaxy from getting anything out of the game as they mounted a second-half challenge.

As shown above, Tinnerholm was influential at both ends of the field. He made three clearances and three interceptions to keep the Galaxy at bay, while completing 47 of his 60 passes. Only three players completed more passes than Tinnerholm in the entire game.

Tinnerholm’s performance was all the more impressive considering he was left in a heap 10 minutes into the game following a tough tackle from Jonathan Dos Santos. The Sweden international appeared to roll his ankle in a nasty looking incident but returned to the action, scoring the opening goal 13 minutes later and lasted the full 90 minutes.

An in-depth look at Anton Tinnerholm’s performance in NYCFC’s 2-1 win over LA Galaxy in Week 2 (stats via @StatsZone app)

The image above demonstrates how good Tinnerholm was for NYCFC down the right side. He was disciplined, rarely venturing deep into Galaxy territory but was effective in dealing with the threat down LA’s left wing.

His three clearances (the green circles) came in vital positions, while his interceptions (green diamonds) also gave NYCFC the opportunity to turn defence into attack in an instant.

Don’t miss – MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 2

Tinnerholm’s performance will have delighted the NYCFC fans and they will hope to see him pick up where he left off when they welcome Orlando City to Yankee Stadium next Saturday.


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