MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 6 – Tim Melia comes up big in record-setting performance

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.

There was only going to be one winner of Week 6’s MLSGB Defensive Player of the Week so it will come as no surprise to see Tim Melia as our standout defensive performer of the weekend. The Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper put in a record-setting performance in the 2-0 road win at LA Galaxy. Melia made a staggering ten saves to earn a valuable shutout and help SKC to three more big points.

The 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year made six saves from shots made from outside the box, saving all four of the Galaxy’s efforts from inside the area too. He also completed 35 of his 42 passes.

Sporting Kansas City were the league’s best defence last season by some margin. But there were early concerns this campaign after they conceded nine goals in their first four games. However, Melia has now kept back-to-back clean sheets as the SKC defence begins to look solid once more.

A look at the ten shots Tim Melia saved in the 2-0 win over LA Galaxy (Stats via @StatsZone)

The graphic above shows just how impressive Melia’s goalkeeping was. LA Galaxy peppered his goal with ten attempts for a variety of positions but the 31-year-old stopper would not be beaten.

The one concern for SKC will be the fact they are allowing their opponents so many shots at goal. Melia is currently facing an average of 13 shots per game from opponents, and while not all of those will be on target, he will hope his defenders can start closing down attacks sooner.

Don’t miss: MLS Attacking Player of the Week – Week 6

Sporting KC’s win sees them stretch their lead at the top of the Western Conference to three points. They have made a good start to the season and now prepare for their Week 7 home clash with Seattle Sounders.

Advertisements

MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 4 – LA Galaxy defender stands strong in Vancouver

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 4 might have been quiet in terms of games played as a result of the international break, but one particular performance made a lot of noise. Just three of the 12 teams in actions kept a clean sheet in Week 4, but only one of those came from a travelling team.

LA Galaxy did well to hold Vancouver Whitecaps to a 0-0 draw at BC Place on Saturday night, especially when you consider they only dressed 17 players for the trip as a result of a huge absentee list. The standout performer – both on the night for LA and overall in MLS this weekend – was Daniel Steres. He is the MLSGB Defensive Player of the Week after a commanding display in the Galaxy backline.

As the graphic above demonstrates, Steres was incredible at the back for the Galaxy. He completed 2/2 tackles, 4/4 interceptions and made 11 clearances to help keep Vancouver out. Of those 11 clearances, nine were headed clearances, further highlighting how commanding Steres was, despite having to face off against Kei Kamara.

Steres also won all four of his aerial duels on the night and was effective at distributing the ball to teammates out of defence. The graphic below shows all of his actions during Saturday’s game. He completed 34 of the 41 passes he attempted, with the seven incomplete passes all coming from ambitious long balls down the right-side.

A detailed look at Daniel Steres’ Week 4 performance at Vancouver Whitecaps – Stats via @StatsZone

The green circles above highlight where Steres made his clearances, while the green diamonds show interceptions. Just looking at those alone shows how dominant he was in crucial defensive areas.

The 27-year-old defender sat out of the Galaxy’s first game of the season and only got his chance in Week 2 following the injury to Michael Ciani. However, he has impressed in the 136 minutes he has completed so far, with his first start at Vancouver proving that he does perhaps deserve more starts.

Don’t miss: MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 4

LA Galaxy have the huge derby clash with LAFC to prepare for next. And with Ciani still struggling with a groin injury, Steres will need to come up big to stop the likes of Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela from stealing the show in the league’s first LA Derby between the new rivals.

MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 3 – Montreal defender’s near perfect performance

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.

An in-depth look at Rod Fanni’s performance in Montreal’s 1-0 win over Toronto FC in Week 3 (stats via @StatsZone app)

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.

Don’t miss – MLS Attacking Player of the Week: Week 3

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.

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.

MLS Defensive Player of the Week: Week 1 – LAFC stalwart leads by example

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.

It doesn’t come as a huge surprise that our defensive pick of the week comes from Los Angeles FC‘s stunning away win over Seattle Sounders. They become just the second expansion side to win their first away game in Major League Soccer history.

LAFC’s 1-0 saw an impressive collective performance. They were clean and simple on the ball and defended well when they didn’t have possession, as well as welcoming a little bit of good fortune at times.

A standout performance at the heart of the LAFC defence came from Lauren Ciman. The 2015 Defender of the Year has plenty of MLS experience under his belt and he remained calm at all times of the game. He made crucial blocks and chose to bring the backline up to press at the right time, while marshalling them to drop back and clear their lines when it was necessary.

How did Laurent Ciman perform in numbers? 

Ciman played the full 90 minutes as you’d expect from a centre half. In that time he made four interceptions to stop attacks, blocked two shots including a close-range effort, made six clearances and held a positive 75% pass accuracy.

His crucial block from a goal-bound Harry Shipp kept the score at 1-0 in the first half, which was a game-changing phase of play. Had Seattle scored at that point to level things it could have swung the momentum out of LAFC’s favour.

https://twitter.com/JogaBonito_USA/status/970434433940643840

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

Ciman’s performance was exactly what was needed from him as a captain and the LAFC faithful will be hoping to see that continue on a weekly basis. A thoroughly good, history making weekend for the MLS new comers and one for the fans to remember.