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Rodgers named MLS Player of the Week: The 11 picked Pontius

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Luke Rodgers
Luke Rodgers, who scored twice and set up Thierry Henry’s first goal of the season, was named the MLS Player of the Week after the ballots from the North American Soccer Reporters were counted.

Rodgers highlighted the New York Red Bulls’ 3-0 demolition of San Jose on Saturday, as the energy drink-sponsored side got a measure of revenge for its 2010 playoff elimination by the Earthquakes.

Rodgers was Johnny-on-the-spot when he headed home after a scramble off a corner kick, and tapped in a perfect cross-field pass from Henry for the second goal of the game. Rodgers’ best effort of the game wasn’t one of his two point-blank-range goals; it was the perfect floated cross that Henry — who was never known in his time with Arsenal or Barcelona as a guy who outjumped defenders to head home goals — was able to nod home to end his scoreless season-long drought in MLS.

How The 11 voted: It was a tough decision to make, but the vote went to D.C. United’s Chris Pontius for his two-goal effort against Toronto FC. His early goal, scored inside the five-minute mark, set the tone for the game.

Chris Pontius
And, unlike Rodgers, who had the benefit of strike partner Thierry Henry enjoying his best game to date in MLS, neither of Pontius’s goals was a tap-in. His first goal saw him turn converted TFC fullback Jacob Peterson inside-out before stroking the ball inside the post. Pontius’s second goal saw him stop, shift and shoot — while totally catching TFC defender Dan Gargan wrong-footed.

Both strikes showed real class, and Pontius exploited the space that was granted to him by the TFC midfield. He showed intelligence, speed and skill in what was a day that most Toronto FC fans will want to forget.

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