(June 4, 2007) Kansas City Wizards forward Eddie Johnson took home his fourth major MLS award of 2007 as he was named MLS Player of the Week for the second consecutive week in Week 9. Johnson scored a hat trick for the second straight match, including the game-winner in the 85th minute against Red Bull New York. No player in MLS history had ever scored hat tricks in back-to-back matches before Johnson did the trick in games against New England and New York.
Johnson becomes the first player in team history to win a Player of the Week award three times in a season. Johnson now ranks first in MLS in goals (9), first in game-winning goals (5) and tied for fourth in assists (3). The Wizards have scored more goals (19) than any team this season. So far, Johnson has scored as many goals as the entire Toronto FC roster and outscored Columbus (8 goals), Houston (7), Los Angeles (7) and Real Salt Lake (7).
“This award says a lot about our team and how we’ve been playing,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely a collaborative effort every time we come out on the field, and I’m looking forward to coming back to Kansas City after the Gold Cup.”
Down 1-0 to start the second half, Johnson erased the deficit in the 46th minute when he ran onto Michael Harrington’s pass over the defense, and hit a first-time shot over Red Bulls goalkeeper Jon Conway.
Johnson’s second goal came in the 59th minute as he struck a first-time shot past Conway after Jose Burciaga Jr.’s low cross from the left wing came through to him. Johnson scored the eventual game-winner in the 86th minute when he slotted a breakaway pass from Sasha Victorine under Conway. It was Johnson’s League-leading fifth game-winning goal this season and completed the second hat trick of his career.
Johnson is the only player to win Player of the Week honors more than once in 2007. He was tabbed in Week 2 after scoring a goal and assisting on two other’s in the Wizards season-opening 4-2 victory on the road at D.C. United. Also, no other teams have had more than one winner of the award in 2007.
Johnson was then named MLS Player of the Month for April after he led the Wizards to a 3-1-0 record, scoring three game-winning goals while adding two assists. Johnson had never won an MLS Player of the Week or Player of the Month award until this season.
Johnson won the Week 8 award after notching his first career MLS hat trick in a 4-3 win at New England.
Thirteen different players have won Player of the Week awards for the Wizards. Johnson is the sixth player to win the award more than once and the fourth player to win the award more than once in a season.
Johnson has now joined the U.S. National Team in preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup. The United States, looking to defend its 2005 title in the competition, opens play Thursday, June 7 against Guatemala at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Cal. at 5 p.m. CT. Johnson will be with the U.S. squad through the duration of the tournament. The finals will be held Sunday, June 24 in Chicago.
The MLS record for Player of the Week awards in one season came in 1999 when Jason Kreis won the award six times for the Dallas Burn.
2007 MLS Player of the Week Winners
Week 1: Jeff Cunningham (Real Salt Lake)
Week 2: Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards)
Week 3: Maykel Galindo (Chivas USA)
Week 4: Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 5: Dwayne De Rosario (Houston Dynamo)
Week 6: Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
Week 7: Juan Pablo Angel (New York Red Bulls)
Week 8: Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards)
Week 9: Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards)
Kansas City Wizards All-Time Player of the Week Winners (26)
1996- Preki (Week 8), Mark Chung (Week 12)
1997- Preki (Weeks 12 & 14)
1998- Vitalis Takawira (Week 10)
1999- Chris Klein (Week 19)
2000- Peter Vermes (Week 10), Tony Meola (Week 15)
2001- Chris Klein (Week 2), Chris Brown (Week 3)
2002- Chris Klein (Week 4), Tony Meola (Week 21)
2003- Chris Klein (Weeks 2 & 27), Preki (Week 9), Igor Simutenkov (Week 15)
2004- Davy Arnaud (Week 14)
2005- Josh Wolff (Weeks 7 & 20)
2006- Sealy (Week 12), Arnaud (Week 24), Wolff (Week 27), Burciaga Jr. (Week 28)
2007- Eddie Johnson (Weeks 2, 8 & 9)