Aaron Long helped keep David Villa off the scoresheet last Friday. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
Center back Aaron Long, who helped keep Major League Soccer leading goal-scorer David Villa off the scoresheet in the Red Bulls’ 1-1 draw with New York City FC Friday night, was named FrontRowSoccer.com player of the week.
He was honored for the week ending Sunday, Aug. 27.
This was Long’s first honor of the season.
Long and his backline did not have much luck against Villa in NYCFC’s 3-2 home win in the Hudson River Derby Aug. 6. The Spanish international struck for a hat-trick at Yankee Stadium.
Friday’s game at Red Bull Arena was another matter. Villa did help set up City’s lone goal, by Maxi Moralez, but Long and his defensive helped neutralize the 35-year-old striker.
“Aaron was very good,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said, praising Fidel Escobar and Kemar Lawrence. “So I felt like that back three was quite good. Their aggressiveness, athleticism, their intelligence, I think, bodes well for the future of what we’re doing here. So we’ve had to rotate a lot of guys on the back line. We’re trying to find in some ways our first-choice lineup. In other ways we know we can count on a lot of different guys based on what we’re going to see. We’ve challenged them all.
“Listen, if you want to be a big-time center back and we play against big-time strikers, you’ve got to find a way to take care of them. David Villa, [Sebastian] Giovinco, these guys are not easy to take care of. What great players they are and we’re lucky to have them in our league. But I think Aaron took a big step forward in his career tonight the way he played against Villa.”
The Red Bulls play at FC Dallas Saturday night.
FrontRowSoccer.com player of the week winners
Week 1 (March 6) — Joseph Bendik (Orlando City SC)
Week 2 (March 13) — David Villa (New York City FC)
Week 3 (March 20) — Rodney Wallace (New York City FC)
Week 4 (March 27) — Vincent Bezecourt (New York Red Bulls II)
Week 5 (April 3) — Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC)
Week 6 (April 10) — Jimmy Maurer (New York Cosmos)
Week 7 (April 17) — Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls)
Week 8 (April 24) — Alex Muyl (New York Red Bulls)
Week 9 (May 1) — Jack Harrison (New York City FC)
Week 10 (May 8) — Rodney Wallace (New York City FC)
Week 11 (May 15) — Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC)
Week 12 (May 22) — David Villa (New York City FC)
Week 13 (May 29) — Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls)
Week 14 (June 5) — Alex Callens and Maxime Chanot (New York City FC)
Week 15 (June 12) — No award given
Week 16 (June 19) — Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), David Villa (New York City FC)
Week 17 (June 26) — Ben Sweat (New York City FC)
Week 18 (July 3) — Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC)
Week 19 (July 10) — Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC)
Week 20 (July 17) — Eric Calvillo (New York Cosmos)
Week 21 (July 24) — Daniel Royer (New York Red Bulls)
Week 22 (July 31) — Eric Calvillo (New York Cosmos)
Week 23 (Aug. 7) — David Villa (New York City FC)
Week 24 (Aug. 14) — Sean Johnson (New York City FC)
Week 25 (Aug. 21) — Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC)
Week 26 (Aug. 28) — Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls)