NEW YORK – It was the most stunning result of the MLS weekend and one of its architects is now earning national acclaim.
The North American Soccer Reporters voted Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales the MLS Player of the Week after his assist and two goals in the first half helped RSL jump out to a 3-0 halftime lead on their way to a 4-1 victory over defending MLS Supporters’ Shield champions the LA Galaxy.
The 31-year-old Argentine showed off his vision after just two minutes, threading a ball to teammate Paulo Jr., who then crossed the ball for Andy Williams and a 1-0 lead. Morales then converted a 10th minute penalty kick and crowned a majestic first half with a stunning goal four minutes before the break.
RSL left back Chris Wingert served up a throw-in to Morales, who darted toward the goal from the left side. The playmaker then to rifled a one-time shot into the top right corner for a strike that is also candidate for AT&T MLS Goal of the Week honors.
“Forty-five minutes of probably the best soccer I’ve seen in front of this stadium [from] this team,” RSL manager Jason Kreis said of the first half. “It was sheer delight to watch that.”
The two-time All-Star is not new to hot starts after claiming the first Player of the Week honor of the 2010 MLS season following a brace in San Jose.
However, Morales and his RSL teammates will not be contenders for the next weekly player award given they have a bye week with a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg at Costa Rica set for April 5 against Deportivo Saprissa.
2011 MLS Player of the Week
Week 1: Omar Bravo (Sporting Kansas City)
Week 2: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)