Welcome to this week's Designated Player Roundup, taking a look at how the league's 15 DPs fared over the past week of MLS play. For some background on each of these fellows, check out the first edition of DP Roundup. Done? Good. Let's see how some of the league's ostensible marquee talents did this week.
Week 6 (April 18 - April 24)
David Beckham (LA): Becks, for the first time this season, went a whole week without being shown a yellow card. He did, however, pick up an assist, everyone's favourite: the "unremarkable second assist". Here's another stat, courtesy of the fine folks at Opta: As of the middle of the week, Becks was the most prolific crosser in the league, swinging a ball in every 7.5 minutes. Opta Jack calls him "Curler". Hurry hard?
Juan Pablo Angel (LA): Clearly envious of his well-coiffed teammate's designation as a "curler", Angel put his own curling to the test after coming in as a second-half substitute in L.A.'s 3-0 win over Portland. A certain somebody managed to get their head on the end of one of those curls and turn it into the net. "Assister"? "Helper"? Not quite the same ring to it. Opta Jack is better at the pithy one-word synopsis than I am.
Landon Donovan (LA): Landycakes is, in all of our hearts, a "certain somebody". In this context, he's the certain somebody who not only got his head on Angel's cross, but also converted a penalty kick against the Timbers. Oh, and he sprung Chad Barrett (my boy!) with a through ball that facilitated one of the finest tallies of his career. So that's two goals and an assist for Landycakes, and an assist for each of Angel and Beckham. Good recovery for L.A.'s DP trio after Week 5, I'd say.
Julian de Guzman (Toronto): Jules played probably his best game of the season thus far, the brightest point of which was a beauty of a chip that set up Tony Tchani's goal in the Reds' 1-1 draw with Columbus. What does Opta Jack have to say about JDG? As of April 19, he led the league in fouls committed per 90 minutes, with 4.04. "Dogged". He only committed two fouls on Saturday, though. Puppied?
Branko Boskovic (DC): Ready for the weekly trashing of Boskovic for being an utter albatross? Well, I hate to disappoint, but he actually kinda made an impact this week. Sure, he didn't start or anything... and his team still got decimated by four goals... but he came really really close to scoring, launching five shots in his 45 minutes of play and smacking the goal post twice (including on a pretty nice free kick). Now, I'm not sure if MLS's aim with the DP rule was to attract players who can come really really close to being useful, but for ol' BB, this week was a revelation.
Thierry Henry (NY): Are you having problems? Got dumped? Lost your job? Need a boost? Well, if Thierry Henry's resurgence is any indication, all you need to turn things around is a gigantic, terrifying beard. After a well-publicized goal drought to begin the year, the handball-lovin' Frenchman scored a brace in the Red Bulls' midweek thumping of D.C. United. (For those looking for rejuvenation but unable to grow a beard, the backup plan is to get a Luke Rodgers of your own.)
Rafael Marquez (NY): Opta Jack told us, earlier in the week, that Rafa averaged more passes (80.5) per 90 minutes than any other player in the league. But he didn't get carded this week, and that's where my interest begins and ends.
Alvaro Fernandez (Seattle): Good news and bad news for the big goofball: He turned in an 81-minute performance, once of his longest of the season... but that elongated on-field stint was necessitated by the crippling of Steve Zakuani (courtesy of a Brian Mullan horror tackle) early in the first half. Fernandez did manage three shots (none on target) in his side's 1-0 win over Colorado, though, which I'm sure more than compensates for the loss of a former #1 overall draft pick, right?
Fredy Montero (Seattle): SLUMPBUSTER! Finally, sweet relief for Montero, who found the back of the net after a very long goal-scoring drought. To put things in context, the last time Montero scored, Hosni Mubarak was comfortable in his spot as president for life, none of us had heard of Rebecca Black (I think she may not have even been born), and the world hadn't yet been exposed to the cinematic mastery of Machete.
Omar Bravo (KC): Since Omar Bravo is out for a good number of weeks with a sports hernia, I'm going to fill this space with old quotes from Johnny Bravo instead. This week's gem: "Now remember, I do my best work when I'm being worshipped as a god."
Alvaro Saborio (Salt Lake): In the most important game in MLS history (till the next one), Saborio got the start and played 82 minutes in RSL's 2-2 road draw with Monterrey in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final. Three shots (two on target) and four fouls committed... he was certainly in the middle of things. He'll need to step up in the second leg as well, with the talismanic Kyle Beckerman suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
Eric Hassli (Vancouver): Once again, he survived the full 90 without being sent off, and didn't score. I just don't know who this guy is anymore. Sure, he was cautioned and took five shots at goal, but that's little consolation. And sure, Tony Tchani pulled the "score and get sent off" trick for a Canadian MLS team this week, but it's just not the same without Eric.
Andres Mendoza (Columbus): The big Peruvian started at his favourite position (bench) and came on in the 74th minute against Toronto to perform his favourite function (doing nothing in particular). I've got nothin' else to say here.
Fabian Castillo (Dallas): The 18-year-old (!!!) played only half of his side's 2-1 win in Vancouver, presumably because he and fellow prime-of-his-lifer Omar Salgado buggered off early to check out some of the nightlife on... hmm... I realize I can't finish this joke without insinuating they were going somewhere to score some crack. Also, Salgado came into the came as a late sub, which kinda takes the wind out of it. Sigh. The point is, my jealousy of Castillo's lot in life continues unabated. There, happy?
Diego Chara (Portland): The league's newest DP made his MLS debut this week, coming on at halftime and feeling that smooth, smooth Home Depot Center grass beneath his feet for the first time. Nothing to report on the scoresheet, but Chara hasn't been brought on to be a massive goal-scorer, so his contributions won't necessarily always show up in "facts" and "figures". But no, Chara didn't
DP Deathwatch 2011
1. Andres Mendoza: In the second week of the Deathwatch, Mendoza jumps from third to first, based mostly on the fact that his two compadres were marginally less useless than him this week... and also since he's now got an angry McBain on his tail. Mendozaaaaaaa!
2. Branko Boskovic: Yeah, this deathwatch is kinda like rearranging three very particular deck chairs on the Titanic. Boskovic actually made himself visible this week, but each passing week just brings management a week closer to finally taking a good, hard look at their ROI here.
3. Alvaro Fernandez: Slips to third only due to Zakuani's injury, and the presumption that it'll mean more playing time for him in the weeks and months ahead. Of course, a thorough shitting of the bed in that playing time could land ol' Alvaro back up top lickety-split. Ew.