Philadelphia Union midfielder Roland Alberg was voted MLS Player of the Week by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR), the league announced Tuesday. Alberg recorded the club’s first hat trick since its first-ever home game in 2010 on Wednesday against Chicago Fire. He also added another goal against Vancouver on Saturday, extending his goal streak to four consecutive games (three in MLS play). It’s the second time a Philadelphia Union player has won the award in 2016 with Chris Pontius winning on June 3.
Alberg, 25, joined the Union on Feb. 4 from ADO Den Haag of the Dutch Eredivisie. He’s played in 13 games and started six so far this season and has now scored five goals in MLS play – all in his last three games. Alberg also added a brace against City Islanders FC in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on June 15, bringing his goal tally to seven over his last four games across all competitions.
Although credited with just three goals on Wednesday, Alberg had a big role in starting the Union scoring against the Fire. In the 11th minute, he fired a shot past Sean Johnson that hit the post and bounced off Jonathan Campbell for an own goal, leveling the match at 1-1. But he put the Union ahead just four minutes later, again pouncing on a rebound and firing it past Johnson for his first goal of the night.
Alberg added his second of the night in first half stoppage time, picking up his own rebound and beating Johnson and a handful of Fire defenders for a 3-1 lead.
He finished the hat trick in the 56th minute, converting a penalty for a 4-1 Union lead. It was the Union’s first hat trick since April 10, 2010 (Sebastien Le Toux).
Just three days later, Alberg continued his hot streak against Vancouver, opening the scoring in the 14th minute by against putting home a rebound from inside of the box.
Alberg is the second Union player to win the league’s weekly award this season, and just the fifth different player to win the award in the club’s seven-year history. He joins Chris Pontius (2016), Jack McInenery (2013), Justin Mapp (2011), and Sebastien Le Toux (twice in 2010).
The Union sit in first place in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the Supporters’ Shield race (26 points, 7-5-5 record). They return to action against New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, June 29 at Talen Energy Stadium for the Round of 16 in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The club returns to action in MLS play against Houston Dynamo on Saturday, July 2.
The MLS Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from NASR. The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.