Player of the Week

Player of the week: Alejandro Bedoya

Photo: Earl Gardner

There are some who question Alejandro Bedoya’s talent and place on the United States Men’s National Team.

It’s safe to safe Bruce Arena is not among them.  The coach offered some blunt commentary on Bedoya’s critics.

“I think those people are pretty stupid, whoever they may be. Alejandro is a very good player. In the three or four week period we’ve been together he continues to demonstrate that.”

Bedoya’s performance at the Gold Cup last week certainly made his detractors look “pretty stupid.”

A captain’s performance

In his first full season in Philadelphia, Bedoya has established himself as the leader both on and off the field. He is a vocal presence in the locker room and his exemplary engine sets the tone on the pitch. It’s why he wears the captain’s armband for club.

Now, he wears it for country.

Without the presence of Michael Bradley, Arena chose Bedoya to lead the team. It’s an incredible honor for the midfielder, who has now been capped by three separate coaches: Bob Bradley, Jürgen Klinsmann, and Arena. His game is always going to be appreciated more by the managers than the fans. He does the small things so well, whether its tracking back to defend or making runs to pull defenders out of position, that often go unnoticed.

Yet on Saturday, the Captain led from the front.

Arena deployed Bedoya in a familiar role, starting him at the base of the midfield in a 4-2-3-1. From that position, he played a familiar game. He raced forward as Nicaragua sat back, but he stayed conscious of his defensive responsibilities.

He picked his first assist in the 36th minute, collecting the ball down the right flank and laying a well-placed cross at the feet of Joe Corona. The Club Tijuana man wiggled and slotted the ball past the keeper.

Bedoya second assist typified his game. A loose Nicaraguan pass was read well by the Union international who stepped in front for the interception. He combined well with Dom Dwyer with a give-and-go to find room at the top of the box. He found Kelyn Rowe’s run with a weighted through ball, splitting the defense. Rowe had no trouble with the finish.

He nearly contributed to a third goal, forcing a penalty with a dangerous run down the left. As Bedoya cut back in the box, the defender slid past and handled the ball as he went. Corona, however, could not convert the penalty.

Even as a substitute, Bedoya was able to contribute earlier in the week. He picked up a secondary assist on the U.S.’s second goal against Martinique.

It’s safe to say Alejandro Bedoya had a pretty good seven days, but PSP’s player of the week is about to have an even better one. The captain is home with his family, getting ready for the birth of his second child.

Hey, Ale, congratulations.

Honorable mention

Andre Blake

The Jamaican goalkeeper continued to captain his side at the Gold Cup as the team secured a place in the quarterfinals of the competition. Andre Blake allowed just one goal during group play and kept a clean sheet against Mexico last Thursday.

Jay Simpson

Scoring droughts are always difficult for forwards. It was more true for Jay Simpson, who was expected to lead the attack after hopping across the Atlantic. It’s been a difficult first year for the Brit, whose been relegated to a bench role through injury and C.J. Sapong’s solid play.  Simpson’s first and only goal for the club came all the way back on March 11 against Toronto. Saturday evening against Swansea City, Simpson snapped his scoring skid. The movement was highlighted by an intelligent run, poise under pressure, and a composed finish to beat the keeper.

Anthony Fontana

The 17-year-old academy player wore the blue and gold of the Union for the first time, making his professional debut against Swansea City. Anthony Fontana flashed the promise and potential that makes so many in the organization believe he has a bright future on the horizon.  The Union announced Monday afternoon the academy prospect has been signed to the first team, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Previous Winners

One Comment

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Glad to see the poll. It doubt it would have mattered this week but I think “Other” should also be an option.
    .
    Any word as to whether Bedoya is practicing with the Union until his wife goes into labor?

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