It's Tuesday, and I've finally found the time to watch the last of this past weekend's North American Soccer League matches. With that done, it's also time to select my second NASL Team of the Week, which looks a little different than the very Cosmos-heavy squad from week one. Here's are the eleven players I went with following week two:
Daniel Vega, Goalkeeper, Miami FC
For the second straight week, Vega couldn't stop a late penalty to earn Miami FC their first win, but it was a second strong showing for the keeper nonetheless. In a week without any dominating goalkeeping performances, Vega's was the best of the bunch.
Nemanja Vukovic, Fullback, Indy Eleven
Left back was a bit of a toss up between Vukovic and Michel, but in the end, I felt the Indy man did enough to earn the nod. His equalizer late allowed the Eleven to salvage a point, and overall, he did a nice job against a pretty dangerous looking Ottawa attack.
Carlos Mendes, Centerback, New York Cosmos
It was another solid showing for the Cosmos captain, who was his usual rock in defense. The few chances that Jacksonville was able to create on Sunday were generally due to poor marking on the other side, something that I'd hope would improve in short order.
Brent Kallman, Centerback, Minnesota United
Like Mendes, Kallman quietly had an impressive match in a 2-0 victory over Edmonton. His performance was doubly impressive when considering that his usual partner, Tiago Calvano, was injured early on.
Kevin Vanegas, Fullback, Minnesota United
As always, Vanegas was impressive for United, as they kept FC Edmonton very quiet. In addition to his fine defensive work, Vanegas picked up an assist on Sunday evening, and his throw in set up the Loons' second.
Michael Lahoud, Midfield, New York Cosmos
While he didn't do anything too flashy on Sunday, Lahoud was exceptional against the Armada, stopping several promising attacks and starting the counter effectively, something that Marcos Senna did so well during his time in New York. The second Cosmos goal was largely due to Lahoud's excellent positioning, and his ability to play the ball forward before the Armada had time to recover.
James Marcelin, Midfield, Carolina RailHawks
Like Lahoud, Marcelin had a fantastic showing while disrupting the Rayo attack, forcing most of OKC's threats to come from the wings. Letting Marcelin move to the RailHawks is almost certainly something that the Strikers are regretting, he's been one of the club's most impressive performers thus far as they've won two matches in a row.
Niko Kranjcar, Midfield, New York Cosmos
Kranjcar had a quiet start, but took the match over in the second half. In addition to setting up the Cosmos' second, he nearly scored a pair of goals, and was the sort of nightmare to defend that I had expected to see him become in the NASL. If Kranjcar keeps playing the way he did for the final 45 minutes on Sunday, the Cosmos are going to run away with the Spring Season title.
Austin Da Luz, Midfield, Carolina RailHawks
Da Luz was hands down the Player of the Week for week two, scoring a brace, and moving atop the NASL scoring charts early on. While everyone expected Tiyi Shipalane to be a nightmare down the right flank, Da Luz's contributions on the left are making the attack incredibly dangerous and balanced, and turning the RailHawks' game into one of the most entertaining matches in North America every single week.
Ben Speas, Midfield, Minnesota United
While all of the attention on Minnesota's attack is generally focused on Christian Ramirez, Lance Laing, and Stefano Pinho, Ben Speas has been their most impressive attacking outlet so far this season. On Sunday, he scored a brace, and probably could have had at least one more to go along with that pair of goals. It was quite the show, and if not for the huge week from Da Luz, Speas would be an obvious choice for Player of the Week.
Ryan Johnson, Forward, Rayo OKC
I was tempted to go with Jairo Arrieta here, but overall, I think Johnson had more of an impact on the match. Both forwards found the back of the net, and both contributed more than their goal would indicate with an impressive all-around showing, but the OKC man just seemed to be a bit more dangerous overall.