Portland Timbers midfielder Kalif Alhassan was named the Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) for Week 1 of the 2012 MLS season, it was announced today. Alhassan scored his first MLS goal and logged an assist in the Timbers’ 3-1 season-opening win over the Philadelphia Union on Monday night at a sold out JELD-WEN Field.
Alhassan becomes the first MLS Timbers player to win NASR’s Player of the Week honors.
In his second MLS season, Alhassan was a key contributor in the Timbers’ second-half push to record their first come-from-behind victory as an MLS side on Monday. After the Timbers pulled level in the 54th minute, Alhassan set up the game-winning goal by striker Kris Boyd in the 66th minute, with a well-placed cross from the right side along the top of the six yard box.
Alhassan then scored his first MLS goal 10 minutes later in the 76th minute. He set himself up for a shot on frame after a hard-working effort into the box from the right side. From a tight angle, he chipped a curling shot around the reach of Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath and inside the back post, landing in the side netting. He also shared the team lead with four shots against Philadelphia.
Alhassan started 27 of his 32 appearances for the Timbers during their inaugural MLS season in 2011 and ranked second among team leaders with six assists.