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 6 saw plenty of action as 24 goals were scored across eight fixtures. Atlanta United made sure they played their part in contributing to that number, as they beat new boys LAFC 5-0 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. At the heart of that performance was Julian Gressel. The winger put in an impressive display, scoring the opener and providing an assist – which is why he is MLSGB Attacking Player of the Week.
It took Gressel just 17 minutes to break the deadlock. The game remained relatively even from that point onwards, up until just shy of the 70-minute mark when Gressel dinked in a perfect cross for Josef Martinez to make it 2-0. The second goal all but sealed it for Atlanta before they went on a three goal-spree in nine minutes at the end of the game.
Much like Atlanta’s performance, Gressel was efficient. He needed just one shot on target to score his goal, while his one chance created was taken by Martinez. His pass accuracy wasn’t overly impressive, however that won’t be seen as much of an issue by the Atlanta faithful.
From the statistical graphic below you can see just how busy Gressel was during the game. A vast majority of his failed passes (red arrows) were either balls into the box or from within his own half – which shows his desire to look to create chances and get his team moving forward. His assist came from a phase of play which every good winger is expected to provide from, getting down to the byline and delivering.
The 24 year old has been a regular in Tata Martino’s side this season, starting all five games. He will be hoping to continue to contribute, although his strike in the 5-0 win was his first goal of the season, he already has three assists, justifying his place in the starting XI.
Next up for Atlanta is a huge game at the top of the Eastern Conference, as they host NYCFC on Sunday evening. Gressel will be looking to continue his good run of early season form and help his side go top of the standings.