Mauro Manotas is getting his chance and making the most of it.
The Houston Dynamo’s freshly minted starting forward bagged a hat trick in a 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers over the weekend, and was rewarded Tuesday by being named the MLS Player of the Week for Week 29 by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR),
Manotas opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 34th minute before scoring twice in the second half to break a 1-1 tie and send the defending champs home with a loss that hurt their playoff hopes.
His second goal came in the 73rd minute after Boniek Garcia slipped the ball to him in the box and he ripped a shot past Jake Gleeson to the near post. Manotas iced the game in the 85th minute when Cristian Maidana’s through ball set him up on a breakaway and he calmly beat Gleeson again.
Manotas’ hat trick was probably the most unlikeliest of them all considering the 21-year-old Colombian didn’t get much playing time for much of the last year after being transferred from Colombian club Uniautonoma in May 2015. But under interim coach Wade Barrett — who was surprised Manotas wasn’t included on MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 rankings — he’s started six of the last seven games.
The Dynamo, who return to action Friday vs. New York City FC (8 pm ET, UniMas), are 3-1-2 in those games as they look to move out of last place in the Western Conference and continue to play the role of spoiler to teams in contention down the stretch.
Manotas was the second Dynamo to be named Player of the Week this season after Andrew Wenger won the award in March. The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.