Sporting Kansas City forward Gerso Fernandes delivered a scintillating performance on Saturday, racking up two goals and two assists to propel his side to a resounding 5-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium.
MLSsoccer.com took notice, giving Fernandes an MLS Team of the Week nod as Sporting KC leapfrogged FC Dallas for first place in the Western Conference heading into the final six weeks of the regular season. Fernandes also received Audi Player Index Performance of the Week honors, becoming the fifth Sporting KC player to earn the award this year behind Felipe Gutierrez (Week 4), Tim Melia (Week 6), Yohan Croizet (Week 8) and Daniel Salloi (Week 10).
Fernandes became just the third player in Kansas City history to notch two goals and two assists in an MLS match, joining the elite company of club legend Preki and longtime forward Josh Wolff. The pacey winger now has five goals and five assists in his second MLS season, with four of his strikes coming over the last eight games.
The 27-year-old Fernandes did his damage on both sides of halftime, assisting Felipe Gutierrez’s go-ahead goal in the 18th minute before bagging an AT&T MLS Goal of the Week candidate five minutes later. In the second half, Fernandes set up Krisztian Nemeth’s first goal since returning to Sporting KC and hammered home a volley to complete his memorable night in Silicon Valley.
While Fernandes was named among the Team of the Week starters, center back Ike Opara claimed a spot on the Team of the Week bench. Returning to the lineup after missing last weekend’s 1-0 home win over Orlando City SC due to caution accumulation, Opara bagged his second goal of 2018 in the 42nd minute and anchored a Sporting KC backline that kept San Jose off the scoresheet until Danny Hoesen rifled home in the 80th minute.
Manager Peter Vermes' men will continue their pursuit of a club-record eighth straight playoff berth on Sunday when the team visits the Philadelphia Union in a nationally televised clash on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Kickoff is slated for noon CT at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania, with local radio broadcasts airing live on Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.