SBI MLS Player of the Week: Graham Zusi

Graham Zusi.

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By IVES GALARCEP

Sporting Kansas City was in a brief slump, having lost two straight games, but they returned to their top form on Saturday in a 4-0 thumping of Chivas USA. A performance orchestrated by the skillful exploits of Graham Zusi.

The U.S. Men’s National Team striker turned in one of his best performances of the season, scoring a goal, assisting on a second and helping setting up the play that led to another goal. Zusi’s contributions, and overall outstanding efforts, made him the easy choice for SBI MLS Player of the Week honors.

Zusi beat out a good field of candidates that included teammate Claudio Bieler, Philadelphia’s Danny Cruz and Montreal’s Justin Mapp.

What did you think of Zusi’s performance against Chivas USA? Which player impressed you the most in MLS Week 10?

Share your thoughts below.

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

  1. Shane says:

    KC looked massive yesterday, fun game to watch. Loved Zusi’s play, wish they hadnt subbed him out.

    • David says:

      He was subbed out because KC has 3 games in 7 days. The game was over at that point and KC are going need him this week.

  2. KCSoccerFan says:

    Zusi is a striker? I’d say Attacking Mid, maybe winger, but not a striker.

    • MOUF says:

      he plays wing, which is an attacking posistion. his last stint at mid was in Houston in playoffs last year, and ya, keep up him front

  3. Alex Goedken says:

    Graham Zusi… as a striker? Hm… interesting idea Ives… Maybe when Gulati hires Guardiola and we change to a false nine system.

  4. Brett Bates says:

    What do you think the percentage of Fantasy players that will be captaining Zusi this week with 2 games?

    A few weeks ago there was a lot of discussion on whether to captain Zusi or LD, this past week Zusi rewarded his managers once again.

    • Josh says:

      Have you been playing all season? I’m pretty sure anybody involved in fantasy has picked Zusi as captain 99% of the time this year. If not, you’ve probably been losing a fair amount of game/points.

      • MC says:

        This question is easily answered with facts, using MLSsoccer.com Week 9 Fantasy roundup from Apr 29, plus current stats from the Fantasy site.

        Given there were ~21,400 MLS Fantasy Players in Week 9, Zusi was owned by ~48% of them (roughly 10,300), and captained by 4,655 people in Round 9 (per the article):

        *This means 45% of Zusi owners captained him (4,655/10,400)
        *Or 22% of all Fantasy players captained him (4,655/21,400)

        Ah, but you say, what about “active” MLS Fantasy players?
        If you use the 17,365 “transfers made last week” as a proxy for active players, and assumed everyone used their 2 transfers = roughly 8,700 active players.

        If EVERY “assumed active” player owns Zusi, only 4,655 still captained him in Round 9, or 54% (and this has been roughly the same all year for Zusi).

        Nowhere close to 99%, thus Brett’s question is interesting – because you have less chance to close the gap on people above you if you are playing/captaining the same player as them (e.g. Zusi).

        If Zusi is most captained from Round 10 (and we’ll see those stats when the Round 10 roundup comes out) we can see if the people not captaining Zusi are changing their minds.

        P.S. Brett Bates is #27 overall, so I’m pretty sure he has actively played all season :) I’ve also captained Zusi all season too, and he’s almost 1/4th of my total Fantasy points.

    • MC says:

      My “still awaiting moderation post” analysis says only 45% of Zusi owners captain him.

      I’ve captained Zusi every game, but of course, so has almost everyone above me in the standings. Thus, to catch someone above me, I either have to gamble with Zusi’s captaincy, or hope I make it up on different players (and not Collin, everyone has him too)

      The more interesting Zusi vs LD Fantasy captain question is in Rd 12 (in Rd 11 it’s Zusi with 2x games vs LD’s one)

      Would Zusi playing one game away to DC score more points than LD in 2 away games at PHI and NY? An opportunity to close the gap on those above you if you choose correctly and the people above you captain differently….

  5. Paddy Megroyn says:

    Meh, his goal was scored against a 10 man side. Cruz or Mapp were better choices IMO.

    • Neruda says:

      Zusi’s has this kind of impact in almost every game. He creates so many chances for himself and teammates.

      • NickDYN says:

        Captained Zusi and got the points this week … but there are a lot of double games next week – I wonder if Zusi is the best choice? He plays at home against Seattle then away at Houston. I am thinking a defender like Goncalves might be safer points. He plays both games at home against RSL and NYR who get enough offence for him to put in a lot of CBIs. NY might not be a shut out, but RSL only has 3 road goals. Interesting week for sure.

        • MC says:

          I also own Goncalves and have thought about him vs. Zusi as captain in Rd 11.

          Add in the fact that Thierry Henry does not play on turf (i.e. Gillette stadium/NE, where he has never played), + McCarty still questionable, and NYRB chances of getting shutout by NE goes up a bit.

          Goncalves could see 18 pts (2x shutouts) doubled to 36.

          I’ll probably stick with Zusi, only because the downside of being wrong about not captaining him (relative to other players with more points above me who will also captain Zusi) will hurt me more than if I am wrong in captaining Goncalves.

          Zusi could go as high as 14 pts each game (he’s done it twice this season already), total of 28, captained to 56 (!). I know Houston has SKC’s number, but SKC really wants to be the one that breaks Houston’s unbeaten record in their new stadium.

          • Neruda says:

            The one time I didn’t lead with Zusi as captain I regretted missing out on an extra 10 pts. Won’t make that mistake again.

    • MOUF says:

      He was pinpoint all game, and his touch was incredible. You didnt watch the game, clearly.

  6. AC says:

    Zusi was on a mission yesterday. He played really well. He definitely needs to stay as a winger, as his runs and passing were top notch.

  7. ChiTown says:

    Player of the Week honors for Graham Zusi. Well done, mate.

    And the self proclaimed hero of many on this site, Landon Donovan, that is persecuted and has an army of conspirators in the US Soccer coaching staff holding him down missed his second consecutive penalty and disappeared for most of his match. His form is so poor that Arenas is taking him off penalties.

  8. Fishy says:

    I got to say, I was actually impressed at how fast Zusi can run. \

    • Eric says:

      Did you see him make that lung-busting sprint out of nowhere in the Azteca to head out a dangerous cross for a corner kick? Zeus has got some wheels.

  9. Neruda says:

    It will be very surprising if Zusi is in MLS next year. I’m not sure if his game can be ignored by even a mid table epl side.

    It’s Zusi’s midfield position on the US team and Zusi’s league. Hard to argue otherwise right now.

    • ChiTown says:

      Yup.

      Don’t really even see it as a debatable subject at this point given recent outings.

      • MOUF says:

        I bet he is gone in the summer transfer window. look at how many wings Vermes has on the roster right now, and you know there is intrest.

        • MC says:

          I think Zusi stays through 2014 World Cup because he will stick with what got him on the USMNT.

          He’s a leader, starter and game changer at SKC, which is boosting his confidence level (which he still needs)

          Why transfer to Europe/EPL where he might ride the bench (if he even makes the 18?) and get rusty like Shea or Edu (pre loan).

          • Neruda says:

            Because it might be a goal of his to test himself in a top league and there’s the paycheck too. given the right situation I don’t see him, Sporting or MLS passing it up. It’s also a safe bet that Klinsi would tell him to make the move. It would be a gamble but he’s mentally ready for it.

            • Eric says:

              If the paycheck is the issue, SKC can do for Zusi what SJE did for Wondo and start paying him DP money (and considering Zusi’s importance to SKC, he is certainly worth DP money).

              But I think you’re absolutely right that Klinsmann would want a move like this for Zusi (and all the implications that might have for Zusi’s ticket to Brazil, which tbh looks guaranteed unless something disastrous happens). Even though Clint Dempsey hasn’t had a stellar year at Spurs, Klinsi has still praised the move for upping Dempsey’s degree of difficulty. Same with Michael Bradley at Roma. So I have to think that if the right situation presented itself for Zusi in Europe, Klinsmann would advise him to take it.

  10. AC says:

    Tough to see Donovan still struggling on penalty kicks as he’s finding his rhythm. But also good to see players like Zusi stepping up and displaying qualities.

  11. Isaac says:

    It was weird to see Zusi listed as a forward in the MLS highlights. Anyone have more insight on that?

    • David says:

      He’s been playing up top on the wing in SKC’s 4-3-3 the entire season and parts of last season.