SBI MLS Player of the Week: Graham Zusi

GrahamZusiKC (ISIPhotos.com)

In an weekend that saw more than a half-dozen standout performances that could all be deemed worthy of Player of the Week honors, one player stood out the most for delivering a dream outing in the biggest match of the weekend.

When Sporting Kansas City beat the red-hot Chicago Fire to halt the Fire's four-match winning streak and keep KC's hold on first place in the East it was Graham Zusi who led the way. His outstanding work in midfield combined with a pair of first-class goals secured a 2-0 victory that kept KC in first place. It also made Zusi the pick for SBI MLS Player of the Week.

Zusi beat out a trio of stunning matches from Thierry Henry, Alvaro Saborio and Steven Lenhart for the honor. Henry's virtuoso one-goal, three-assist effort was one of the best single-game efforts of the season, but it also came against a putrid Toronto FC squad. Saborio notched a hat-trick for Real Salt Lake, but also came against the woeful Chivas USA defense (and you could argue Fabian Espindola had an even better night for RSL). Lenhart came off the bench to score a pair of vital late goals, including a stoppage-time equalizer in San Jose's 3-3 tie vs. FC Dallas.

What did you think of Zusi's performance? Which of the many outstanding performances would have garnered your vote for SBI MLS Player of the Week this week?

Share your thoughts below.

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19 Responses to SBI MLS Player of the Week: Graham Zusi

  1. biff says:

    I am a big Landon Donovan fan and hope he can keep his USMNT competitive fires burning through WC 2014. But if he doesn’t I am starting to think that the USMNT right wing position might be in good hands — I mean feet — with Graham Zusi. In fact, I can get very excited thinking of Zusi starting October 16 against Guatemala in Kansas City and then continuing to develop next year as an international player in Hex competition and, who knows, maybe a move to a European Club.

  2. JRP says:

    Can’t get in Lenhart’s corner. In my mind, about halfway through this season he crossed the point of no return in douchebaggery. Maybe if he gave his hair to locks of love and stopped flopping around in the box MLS fans would let the past be the past and move on.

  3. DJ says:

    Agreed. Zusi to Europe in less than two years. As an SKC fan, this (seemingly) nearly inevitable likelihood makes me sad–I can’t think of another young American CAM with the current talent and potential talent as the mighty Zeus.

    SKC has a great window in which to take advantage of their Euro-bound young talent (Zusi, Besler, maybe Sapong) before they head off to Europe. Here’s to grabbing some silverware before 2014 or so.

  4. Schaef says:

    Zusi. Closest thing to Messi in MLS!

    A lock for the USMNT. Should be starting every game.

  5. JRP says:

    An apple is the closest fruit to an orange?

  6. Tyler K says:

    Which isn’t saying much, but it is at the same time. I’m excited for him to leave the Sporks!

  7. d says:

    His two goals in last Saturday’s game had no “floppery” nor and there was no douchebaggery in his play. In fact, he’s been playing a pretty straight up game the past few weeks. I think the problem is that if you’re not a San Jose fan, or more specifically, you’re rooting against San Jose, it’s probably pretty annoying (to say the least)that Lenhart scores clutch goals to win or tie late in the games, just when those non-fans are starting to think the opposing team has finally handed the Quakes a loss. Plus it must also be pretty frustrating that San Jose gets wins without any “stars.” Yallop has figured out a way to get the team to play together as a team, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts. They won’t always win (or tie), but they’ve got everyone else wondering every game if that is the game where the Quakes will lose. And face it, who doesn’t love to play spoiler?

  8. Conrad says:

    OK. Willing to be persuaded. Highlight reel?

  9. biff says:

    You are calling him a CAM, but Klinsmann has played him as a right winger. How would you rate Zusi’s right wing capabilities compared to central attacking skills? Can he play left wing in a pinch? In a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2, could he play as one two defensive midfield positions, but in a more forward slot, sort of like Jermaine Jones played in the Jamaica game in Columbus? Would his defense be good enough? I am just thinking where he can play if Landon is at right wing and Clint is playing as withdrawn striker.

  10. Grubbsbl says:

    I to am a Zusi fan but I think the USMNT can include both players in a creative attacking set up. In a 5 man mid, Zusi can operate from the right in similar fashion Müller preformed for Germany in the 2010 WC. From this position Zusi can do what he does best, tucking in when we have the ball to link with midfielders and the backline. Plus, with Dolo’s experience Zusi would have greater freedom to find the game. Essentially he can be a mid who floats in between the lines. Donovan would play on the left, and slightly higher. Allowing him to make runs in behind and stretch the opposing teams defense. Feeding off passes from Bradley, Zusi and Williams, LD would thrive. Plus Donovan is more than comfortable in possession. And let’s not forget that this midfield would be lead by Altidore and Dempsey (with Dempsey playing in the hole).

  11. TomG says:

    Zusi reminds me a bit of Stu Holden – late blooming, versatile, skilled midfielder whose skills seem to translate well to higher levels. Stu’s bloom was delayed mostly by injuries, though. He was always a big part of the youth teams. Not exactly sure why Zusi has taken so long to get his props.

  12. He played really well in college, so there is that. Also unless you are a big fast forward peter vermes isn’t going to give you a whole lot of time on the field as a rookie. It takes a while to develop and solidify your position on Vermes squad. You have to have the engine and the mind to play in his midfield.

  13. morpheus says:

    Zusi plays as an outside forward (both sides)in a 4-3-3 or as an outside midfielder (both sides) in a 4-5-1, recently. And I would say that his form as been really good as of late. The advantage that Zusi has with making the USMNT is that SKC plays are more fluid formation that forces all the players to be able to play all the positions. So, Zusi is comfortable playing place in the midfield or as a forward.

  14. Neil says:

    no henry? 3 assists and one goal…

    (SBI-Amazing game, no doubt, but he did it against the worst team in MLS, one of the worst in league history right now considering they’re missing many of their best players from a team that was already pretty bad.)

  15. JRP says:

    I actually am a SJ fan when they don’t play RSL. In fact, they are my second favorite team in the league this year. I really like the way the team has put it all together on a budget. Maybe Lenhart will be a decent player and I don’t mind him scoring goals last minute. RSL has won plenty of games this way. What I mind is a player who manipulates the refs. When Sabo did it earlier this season I though it was just as disgusting as when Lenhart has done it. It is just Lenhart has done it a lot. Not in the past two weeks? Well, good for him. But it will take more than two weeks for me to forget.

  16. biff says:

    Thanks. that sounds exciting, love fluid formations and even wingers switching sides during the course of a game.

  17. biff says:

    Thanks. Can’t wait for Guatemala. if Klinsmann plays three natural defensive midfielders again I am going to scream

  18. DCLee says:

    The fluidity and switching wingers happens on most teams across MLS.