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 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.