Ike Opara, pictured against the Portland Timbers, had a brace vs. San Jose on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
Minnesota United FC defender Ike Opara was voted the Major League Soccer player of the week for the second week of the season, it was announced Monday.
Opara scored two goals to help lead Minnesota to a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium on Saturday. The brace was the second in Opara’s career, following a two-goal performance in a Minnesota victory over FC Cincinnati last June. Opara’s two goals this season are tied for second most in MLS, while the Loons sit tied atop the Western Conference standings with six points.
The reigning MLS Defender of the Year gave Minnesota an early 1-0 lead in the 13th minute when he finished a Jan Gregus corner kick with a powerful header from inside the box (watch goal).
Following a back-and-forth contest, Opara iced the game with his second goal of the match in the 71st minute to give the Loons a decisive 5-2 victory. Off yet another Gregus corner kick, Opara soared over a defender to win the header and send the ball towards goal with enough power to get past a goalkeeper deflection (watch goal).
Minnesota hosts the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at Allianz Field in the club’s home opener (7 p.m. ET, FS1 / Fox Deportes / FOX Sports App / TSN1).
The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.