Chivas USA's Justin Braun has accomplished what even New York's Thierry Henry could not.
The American forward became the first player to net a hat trick at Red Bull Arena on Sunday night and the performance earned him his second career Player of the Week honors for Week 9 of the MLS regular season as voted by the North American Soccer Reporters. Braun captured the same award in Week 15 of last season.
His goals in the 6th, 31st and 56th minutes — his first three goals of the season — gave Chivas USA the lead on three separate occasions against the Eastern Conference leaders. His first goal was a spectacular curling shot into the right corner which stunned New York early. He then poked a ball from a difficult angle past RBNY goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul before giving his team the lead for good with a simple tap-in early in the second half.
The 24-year-old started the first four matches of the season, but he was relegated to the bench after failing to find the back of the net. Sunday's start was his first since April 9 and came on the first match of a four-game suspension for teammate and starter Marcos Mondaini.
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Braun, who scored a career-high nine goals in 2010, was invited to the US men's national team camp in January, only to be forced to abandon the squad after picking up a laceration near his left Achilles on Jan. 11.
The Salt Lake City native and his club next prepare to face local derby rivals LA Galaxy, who stand top of the Western Conference, in a match that will be featured on national television on Saturday (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes).
PLAYER OF THE WEEK WINNERS
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)