After spending the first half of the season bouncing in and out of the lineup, Philadelphia Union midfielder Roland Alberg announced himself in a huge way last week, scoring four goals in two matches to win MLS Player of the Week for Week 16.
Alberg netted a hat trick in Philadelphia’s 4-3 win against the Chicago Fire last Wednesday (watch highlights above) then scored another goal in the Union’s 3-2 loss against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. He’s the second Union player to be voted MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) this month – Chris Pontius won the Week 14 honor on June 3.
Signed this offseason from Dutch club ADO Den Haag, Alberg was plugged into the starting lineup for the first time in more than two months against Chicago to help fill the hole created by Vincent Nogueira’s recent departure. He took full advantage of his opportunity, creating all four of Philly’s goals against the Fire.
Alberg got things going in the 11th minute, firing a shot off the left post that rebounded off of Fire defender Jonathan Campbell for an own goal to pull the Union level at 1-1. He gave Philadelphia the lead four minutes later, picking up a loose ball at the penalty spot and smashing a half-volley into the top corner.
The 25-year-old scored again in first half stoppage time, latching onto a rebound following a Fabian Herbers effort, firing a shot on frame that was blocked by a Chicago defender, then picking up his own rebound and finishing through traffic to make it 3-1. He completed his hat trick in the 56th minute, slotting a penalty kick into the bottom left corner after Pontius was pulled down in the area.
Alberg, who scored the Union’s first goal in their 3-2 loss at New York City FC on June 18, stayed hot on Saturday against Vancouver. He gave the Union the early lead in the 14th minute, punctuating a pretty piece of play by picking up a rebound of Herbers' shot off the crossbar and volleying home.
Alberg and the East-leading Union will host the New York Red Bulls in US Open Cup action on Wednesday (7 pm ET; YouTube). They’ll return to MLS play on Saturday, when they’ll take on the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium (9 pm ET; MLS LIVE).