MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 6 – Atlanta winger stars in dominant win

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.

A detailed look at Julian Gressel’s display in the 5-0 win over LAFC (Stats via @StatsZone)

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.

Don’t miss: MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 6

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.

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MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 3 – Atlanta United star runs riot in big win

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.

We’re three weeks into the 2018 MLS season and there is already an early frontrunner in the Golden Boot race. Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez tops the scoring charts after netting a hat-trick in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Vancouver and as a result, he is this week’s MLSGB Attacking Player of the Week. The Venezuelan striker is only 23 games into his MLS career but he has already scored four hat-tricks. Incredibly, he is just one hat-trick shy of matching the all-time league record, currently held by Stern John.

Martinez showcased why he is so lethal, in more ways than one, on Saturday evening. His first goal came from the penalty spot, after Kendall Waston was sent off for an apparent elbow following a long VAR decision just 13 minutes into the game. Then in the second-half, the Atlanta striker raced away on a counter-attack at blistering pace and finished cooly to add his second of the night. His hat-trick came in the 88th minute as he rose high to head home Andrew Carleton’s cross, rounding off an excellent display for The Five Stripes.

Martinez scored his hat-trick off the back of five total shots, while also creating one chance for a teammate. He completed 29 of his 34 of his passes on the night and will be hoping to build on his performance when Atlanta return to action away at Minnesota United in two weeks.

Martinez has now scored 23 MLS goals in 23 games, an astonishing record for a player that had never previously scored more than eight league goals in a season before 2017. He is thriving under Tata Martino’s guidance in Atlanta and is a lethal focal point for one of the league’s most dynamic attacking forces.

You can see a full statistical breakdown of his performance against Vancouver below, which highlights just how much of the field he likes to cover. He looks to drag defenders out of position by coming deep to collect the ball at times, which makes him virtually impossible to man-mark. His explosive pace on the break means Atlanta always have an outlet when defending set-pieces, and that was demonstrated again on his second goal of the night.

A detailed look at Josef Martinez’s display in the 4-1 win over Vancouver on Saturday (Stats via @StatsZone)

Don’t miss: MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 3

Martinez and his Atlanta teammates sit third in the Eastern Conference after three weeks, having picked up six points following two big wins. They opened the season with that shock 4-0 defeat in Houston but have bounced back well in front of their own fans against DC United and Vancouver. They will hope to put in a better display on the road at Minnesota next time out.

MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 2 – LAFC forward makes it 3 in 2

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.

Los Angeles FC made it two wins from their first two MLS games. Their 5-1 victory away against RSL has sent shockwaves through Major League Soccer – they’ve turned up and mean business in their debut season. It was another impressive team display, which was far more attacking focused than their victory on opening weekend. Those who were able to see events unfold were treated to a star performance from Diego Rossi, who is MLSGB’s Attacking Player of the Week.

Ten minutes after falling behind, Rossi levelled things up for his side on the 30th minute. His influence in the game saw him involved in all five goals, playing a key part in the build up for LAFC’s second and third. Rossi went on to net his second of the game in the final ten minutes, just before laying on an assist to fellow forward Carlos Vela.

Confidence is there for all to see for LAFC, highlighted by the number of shots they had (21), Rossi with six of those. He also completed both of his attempted take-ons during his 89 minutes on the field.

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

Rossi has started his MLS career in some style. LAFC are sitting top of the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield standings after that week two performance. Next up it’s the first instalment of the LA derby as they face rivals LA Galaxy, which looks set to to be a monumental occasion.

MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 1 – Whitecaps winger steals the show

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.

The Vancouver Whitecaps made a perfect start to the 2018 season, beating Montreal Impact 2-1 at BC Place in front of the largest opening-day crowd in Whitecaps history. And the 27,837 fans in attendance were treated to an outstanding performance by 17-year-old winger Alphonso Davies. The young Canadian is MLSGB’s Attacking Player of the Week for the opening weekend of the 2018 season after picking up a goal and an assist to fire Vancouver to three points.

Davies linked up well with Whitecaps winter signing Kei Kamara throughout the game and assisted the MLS veteran in the 63rd minute to give Vancouver the lead.

Then, seven minutes later and Davies netted the first MLS goal of his young career, slotting in Cristian Techera’s cross. Evan Bush got a hand to the shot but couldn’t stop it from rolling over the line. Davies wheeled away in celebration, becoming the 10th youngest scorer in league history.

He deserved his goal and showed great attacking intent throughout Sunday’s contest. He completed six of his eight dribbles on the night, emphasising his confidence on the ball as well as the confidence his teammates have in finding him.

Don’t miss – MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 1

Davies is already playing in his third MLS season since making his debut for the Whitecaps as a 15-year-old back in July 2016. He has now made 35 regular season appearances (12 starts), with one goal and two assists to his name. The early signs suggest he could be one of the league’s most dangerous stars in 2018…