Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber was announced as Major League Soccer’s Player of the Week on Monday, receiving the most votes from the North American Soccer Reporters for week 19 of the 2014 MLS season.
Feilhaber, 29, contributed to both goals in the team’s 2-1 victory at Columbus last Wednesday and scored in his second straight match as the reigning MLS Cup champions defeated the LA Galaxy on Saturday at Sporting Park.
“It is exciting, because the recipients of the award usually means their team won that week,” Feilhaber said. “Obviously it is more important that almost all of our players are back and healthy. We are in good form and it feels great to contribute to the team.”
Feilhaber gave Sporting KC a 1-0 lead at Crew Stadium when his corner kick was headed home by C.J. Sapong in the 42nd minute. The assist was his team-leading fifth of the season and 20th of his MLS career (including postseason). Three of his five assists in 2014 have come from set pieces, second most in MLS behind Brad Davis (4).
In the game’s final minute, Feilhaber’s first-time shot from outside the penalty area beat Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark and struck the underside of the crossbar to move the team back atop the Eastern Conference standings. The goal is Sporting Kansas City’s latest game-winning goal of the season and is one of five nominees up for MLS Goal of the Week.
The road win — the team’s fourth straight, a new single-season club record — marked the second time in Feilhaber’s four-year MLS career in which he recorded a goal and an assist in the same match.
On Saturday, Feilhaber followed the mid-week performance with his third goal of the season, second most among Sporting KC players, with a free kick from 20 yards out. The right-footed strike curled beyond the reach of LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the upper corner for the 11th goal of his MLS career.
It marked the second straight season Feilhaber scored directly from a free kick, accounting for the team’s only two free kick finishes in the past two years and leaving him one behind Camilo for most by an MLS player since the start of 2012.
In 2014, Feilhaber has started the most MLS matches (19) of any Sporting KC player and has suffered the second most fouls in MLS (48). He is among the top five MLS midfielders in the following statistical categories: passes (1050, No. 5), passes in opponents half (654, No. 5), successful passes in opponents half (510, No. 5), passes into final third (196, No. 2), touches (1399, No. 5), duels (232, No. 4), duels won (127, No. 5) and recoveries (153, No. 4).
Today’s honor is Feilhaber’s first career MLS Player of the Week recognition, finishing ahead of Robbie Keane (LA) and Bernardo Anor (CLB), and second by a Sporting KC player this season (Graham Zusi, Week 4). The team has also won each of the last two MLS Player of the Month votes with Dom Dwyer (May) and Eric Kronberg (June) receiving the accolades.
– Story from Sporting KC