Dane Richards has scored four goals this season, opening his account on Aug. 21 against Toronto FC. The little Jamaican winger has been getting a lot of credit for his scoring prowess of late. Lost in the hubbub, however, is the New York Red Bulls’ other key to success in the last month and a half: Bouna Coundoul.
The 28-year-old Senegalese keeper has been named the MLS Player of the Week, the first goalkeeper to win the honor this year. But Coundoul has earned it. Despite facing the second most shots of any keeper in MLS in 2010, Coundoul boasts a 79.4% save percentage – good for second best in the league – and a fourth best 1.04 goals-allowed average.
The man they call “Bouna Time” might have had his best performance of the season against the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday in front of over 24,000 fans at Red Bull Arena, making 12 saves en route to a 1-0 victory.
His most memorable, however, may have been when Josh Wolff was played in behind a badly beaten Chris Albright, forcing Coundoul to come out to the edge of his area to make the save. The rebound bounced out to the feet of Teal Bunbury who was lying in wait just outside the box. Coundoul stood up Bunbury before diving to wrest control of the ball from the striker.
It was Coundoul’s second straight shutout, his 10th of the year, after having a similarly impressive performance against the LA Galaxy in the “Showdown in Tinseltown.” The two matches, both wins for the Red Bulls, vaulted New York ahead of the Columbus Crew for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with three games remaining in the regular season.
Dane Richards scored the game winning goals in both of those performances, but on Saturday it was clear who was New York's star.
“Without Bouna today, we wouldn’t be first in the Eastern Conference,” Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry told MLSsoccer.com after the game.
2010 MLS Player of the Week Winners
Week 1: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
Week 2: Kenny Mansally (New England Revolution)
Week 3: Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union)
Week 4: Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy)
Week 5: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC )
Week 6: Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy)
Week 7: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Week 8: Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
Week 9: Emilio Renteria (Columbus Crew)
Week 10: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC)
Week 11: Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
Week 12: Chris Pontius (D.C. United)
Week 13: Juan Pablo Angel (New York Red Bulls)
Week 14: Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake)
Week 15: Justin Braun (Chivas USA)
Week 16: Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union)
Week 17: Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders)
Week 18: Juan Pablo Ángel (New York Red Bulls)
Week 19: Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas)
Week 20: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
Week 21: Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo)
Week 22: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders)
Week 23: Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids)
Week 24: Alan Gordon (Chivas USA)
Week 25: Blaise Nkufo (Seattle Sounders)
Week 26: Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 27: Bouna Coundoul (New York Red Bulls)