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.
Week 3 saw teams find their defensive edge. Although there was still plenty of attacking action to enjoy, there were six clean sheets from the nine games. With Week’s 1 and 2 providing just three clean sheets combined – there has been an increase in standout performances from the defensive positions.
One man who put in a near-perfect performance was Montreal Impact’s MLS debutant Rod Fanni. The signing of the experienced French centre-back has surprised some, given that he is now 36 but he silenced any doubters in Week 3 and that’s why he is the MLSGB Defensive Player of the Week.. It was a memorable occasion for Montreal, who beat their rivals, and current MLS Cup winners, Toronto in the 401 Derby.
As you can see above, the stats really do speak for themselves. Fanni made four interceptions, which was the second highest on the field. Of his five clearances, four of those were headers, which highlights his impressive timing and ability in the air.
While Fanni made just the one tackle, his passing statistics were very strong. With an accuracy of 94%, the debutant completed 31 of his 33 attempted passes.
The image above gives further support to show just how well Fanni played. Four of his five clearances (green circles) came in the box (two clearances in the six-yard box overlap).
Fanni’s four inceptions (green diamonds) came within the final third of the pitch, where he was key in breaking up Toronto attacks, an area they are particularly dangerous in with long-range shots.
The Frenchman also made nine ball recoveries (green +’s) showing he was quick to snuff out Toronto’s usual dominance in attacking positions.
Fanni has made an impressive start to life in MLS and he will be hoping to put in consistent performances like this on a weekly basis. If he can add that to the Montreal backline they will be in good standing moving forward this season.