Player of the Week

Player of the Week: Antoine Hoppenot

Photo: Earl Gardner

On Saturday night, the Philadelphia Union played away to the Vancouver Whitecaps and proved yet again why they are one of the best road teams in MLS, defeating the ‘Caps 1–0 on a late Antoine Hoppenot goal.

While Hoppenot hasn’t made quite the impact in 2013 as he did in 2012 he remains coach John Hackworth’s first sub. The goals and assists haven’t been there—with just two of each, even after 19 appearances before Sunday—but his aggression and movement still give defenders fits, not to mention the occasional rush of blood to the head.

Still,  no one’s ever accused Mssr. Hoppenot of bad timing, and on Saturday he found a way to have the biggest impact possible, scoring the 85th-minute game-winner.

Entering in the 67th minute for Danny Cruz, the Union’s attack needed a jolt of energy. Without Conor Casey, suspended for yellow card accumulation, the Union weren’t playing with the incision and power that they have of late. Hoppenot, of course, is nothing like Casey, but he brings another quality that teams chasing points on the road definitely must have: a refusal to know when they’re beat (or tied, as the case may be).

After a Whitecaps turnover, Amobi Okugo jumpstarted the counter-attack, and the ball eventually worked its way to Hoppenot, who drove at the defense and tried to play a one-two with fellow substitute Aaron Wheeler. The Vancouver defense got a foot to the ball, but it still found its way to Wheeler, who smartly flicked the ball behind him and into Hoppenot’s path with the outside of his right boot. Hoppenot took the ball on a couple more yards, then calmly finished across the keeper (former Union man Brad Knighton, who had a great game, losing aside).

Post-match, Hoppenot praised Wheeler for his contribution to the goal, but the Princeton man had a lot to do once he picked up the ball, not to mention it was his entry pass that led to the chance. In sum, it was Hoppenot’s best appearance for the blue and gold in 2013. The nature of the finish—no three-yard tap-in this—should boost his confidence moving forward, too.

The Princeton Cannon’s spark has been dimmed somewhat this season, but for finding his way back to goal at the most opportune of times, he is this week’s PSP Player of the Week.

3 Comments

  1. big 3 points; well worth all the minutes he did not score!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

%d bloggers like this: