NEW YORK – The New York Red Bulls offense came to life for the first time this season on Saturday, and they have the Player of the Week to thank.
The North American Soccer Reporters gave the top honors for Week 5 to Red Bulls newcomer Luke Rodgers, who made a splash in his second MLS start by notching two goals and an assist in the Red Bulls’ 3-0 romp over the visiting San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena.
Rodgers wasted little time making an impression after he was inserted into in the lineup for Juan Agudelo, heading in a bouncing pass from Dane Richards after a Rafa Márquez corner kick sailed off the head of Jan Gunnar Soli and to the back post. The former Notts County striker snapped the pinball header past Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch for his first MLS goal and to give the Red Bulls an early lead in just the second minute of play.
He was back at it the 15th minute after a steal in the backfield from front line partner Thierry Henry. The French striker picked defender Ramiro Corrales’ pocket and drifted a pass across the box to a streaking Rodgers, who thumped home his second goal and celebrated in front of a euphoric RBA crowd.
Rodgers capped his day by returning the favor to Henry, drifting a seeing-eye cross to his teammate on the far post in the 87th minute. Henry pounced with a diving header to the far post, giving him his first goal of the 2011 season and capping the team’s most dominant performance thus far this year.
2011 MLS Player of the Week
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)