He's only in his second season with the New York Red Bulls, but veteran midfielder Joel Lindpere is not afraid to speak his mind.
After calling out his teammates for errors that were costing his team victories, the Estonian took matters into his own hands on Saturday night, scoring two goals including a late equalizer to earn RBNY a 2-2 draw on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes in front of 41,028 at Stanford Stadium. The brace was enough to earn him his first MLS Player of the Week award, as voted by the North American Soccer Reporters for Week 16.
Lindpere opened the scoring in the seventh minute on a cool finish after a penetrating run into the box. After San Jose overturned the 1-0 deficit, Lindpere came through again with an equalizer five minutes from time to clinch the 2-2 draw for his team. His searing left-footed drive allowed the Red Bulls to stay two points behind the Philadelphia Union for second place in the Eastern Conference.
With new midfield acquisition Dax McCarty added to the starting lineup at holding midfield, the 29-year-old is expected to have a greater license to push forward in the remaining 16 matches.
“I think that if [McCarty] plays, with two real holding players, then me and Dane, we don’t need to run like hell all around," Lindpere told reporters after the match. “Everyone can see we have more freedom to attack."
The two tallies at Stanford Stadium gave Lindpere a total of four goals on the season, surpassing his three strikes from last year.
Also earning first-place votes in the Player of the Week media balloting were Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Brian Perk (LA Galaxy), Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake) and Andrés Mendoza (Columbus Crew).
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS - SJ 2, NY 2
2011 PLAYER OF THE WEEK WINNERS
Week 16: Joel Lindpere (New York Red Bulls)
Week 15: Mike Magee (LA Galaxy)
Week 14: Bernardo Anor (Columbus Crew)
Week 13: Steven Lenhart (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 12: Jean Alexandre (Real Salt Lake)
Week 11: Justin Mapp (Philadelphia Union)
Week 10: Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders)
Week 9: Justin Braun (Chivas USA)
Week 8: Joao Plata (Toronto FC)
Week 7: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo)
Week 6: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Week 5: Luke Rodgers (New York Red Bulls)
Week 4: David Ferreira (FC Dallas)
Week 3: Camilo (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Week 2: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
Week 1: Omar Bravo (Sporting Kansas City)