Graham Zusi celebrates his game winning goal by kicking over the corner flag in Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 win over Colorado on August 31st, 2013.
(March 31, 2014) -- Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi was voted Major League Soccer Player of the Week on Monday by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week 4 of the 2014 MLS season. Zusi scored the opening goal in Saturday's 3-2 win at Colorado before providing the game-tying and game-winning assists in the come-from-behind road victory.
The 27-year-old put Sporting KC ahead 1-0 in the 50th minute at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, beginning the scoring sequence by winning the ball inside the defensive half and outracing Rapids defender Marvell Wynne over the course of a 60-yard run for a first-time finish inside the six-yard box. Zusi now has 18 career goals in MLS competition and Sporting KC improved to 14-0-1 when he scores in the regular season.
Following two Vicente Sanchez penalty kicks, Zusi led the reigning MLS Cup champions from a 2-1 deficit to their first road win of the year with the fifth two-assist performance of his MLS career. In the 79th minute, Zusi split the defensive duo of Wynne and Shane O'Neill on the dribble before delivering a left-footed cross to Sal Zizzo at the far post to collect the secondary assist on Benny Feilhaber's equalizing goal just 60 seconds after Colorado had taken the lead.
Sporting Kansas City went on to capture all three points and move into second place in the Eastern Conference standings on Zusi's 18th career game-winning assist in MLS competition. Receiving a pass from Feilhaber in the final third, Zusi spun with his first touch and fed Dom Dwyer with his second touch in short succession to put Dwyer in position for the dramatic go-ahead goal in second-half stoppage time.
Zusi now has 33 assists in his MLS regular season career, fourth most in club history, and his 0.34 assists per 90 regular season minutes played ranks second best among Sporting KC players all-time. Since the start of the 2011 season, Zusi is one of only two MLS players with at least 30 assists and 15 goals along with Houston Dynamo captain Brad Davis.
Over six professional seasons, the 27-year-old playmaker has played in 136 MLS matches (including postseason) with 18 goals and 38 assists. Zusi recorded a career-high six goals and a team-best 12 assists in all competition in 2013 and was the top-rated midfielder in the MLS Castrol Index. The Maryland alum was an MLS MVP finalist in 2012 and nominee for Best MLS Player at the 2013 ESPYS to go along with MLS All-Star (2012, 2013) and MLS Best XI (2012, 2013) recognition.
On Sunday, Zusi joined the U.S. Men's National Team along with Sporting KC captain Matt Besler ahead of Wednesday's international friendly against Mexico. Zusi has earned 19 appearances for the United States, including caps in each of the last three meetings with Mexico (2-0-1), with three goals and three assists in his international career.
The honor is Zusi's third career Player of the Week recognition, finishing ahead of Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio and Javier Morales. The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media. More information and membership information can be found at www.soccerreporters.com.
Sporting KC's MLS Player of the Week History
1996 - Preki (Week 8), Mark Chung (Week 12)
1997 - Preki (Weeks 12 & 14)
1998 - Vitalis Takawira (Week 10)
1999 - Chris Klein (Week 19)
2000 - Peter Vermes (Week 10), Tony Meola (Week 15)
2001 - Chris Klein (Week 2), Chris Brown (Week 3)
2002 - Chris Klein (Week 4), Tony Meola (Week 21)
2003 - Chris Klein (Weeks 2 & 27), Preki (Weeks 9 & 12), Igor Simutenkov (Week 15)
2004 - Davy Arnaud (Week 14)
2005 - Josh Wolff (Weeks 7 & 20)
2006 - Scott Sealy (Week 12), Davy Arnaud (Week 24), Josh Wolff (Week 27), Jose Burciaga Jr. (Week 28)
2007 - Eddie Johnson (Weeks 2, 8 & 9), Scott Sealy (Week 24)
2008 - Claudio Lopez (Week 30)
2009 - Josh Wolff (Weeks 5, 9 & 25)
2011 - Omar Bravo (Week 1), Graham Zusi (Week 23)
2013 - Graham Zusi (Week 10)
2014 - Graham Zusi (Week 4)