Few would have circled Kalif Alhassan's name when it came to star performances entering this First Kick weekend.
But the 21-year-old winger's role in the Portland Timbers' 3-1 victory against the Philadelphia Union on Monday night earned the media's vote as the first MLS Player of the Week in 2012.
The Ghanaian tallied 12 first-place votes among the members of the North American Soccer Reporters after factoring in all three of his team's goals in a comeback victory against the Union. He is the first Portland player to win the award.
Alhassan earned the free kick that led to the Timbers' equalizer, he delivered the cross on Kris Boyd's game-winner and he scored the third and final goal – his first in MLS. His tireless dribbling skills down the right side gave the Union defenders fits all match.
Vancouver's Sébastien Le Toux, Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales, Colorado's Kosuke Kimura and Quincy Amarikwa and the FC Dallas pair of Blas Pérez and Zach Loyd also received first-place votes.
Here's how the media voted (22 ballots):
12 votes: Kalif Alhassan (Portland)
3 votes: Sébastien Le Toux (Vancouver)
2 votes: Blas Pérez (FC Dallas), Kosuke Kimura (Colorado)
1 vote: Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Quincy Amarikwa (Colorado), Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
WATCH: Alhassan named MLS Player of the Week