MISL announced its players of the week as follows:
GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK
Sagu, Baltimore Blast
Sagu is a proven commodity as one of the better goalkeepers in the Major Indoor Soccer League, and in earning two victories for the Baltimore Blast this past weekend he once again played like one of the best.
In stopping 20 of 25 shots in Saturday night's 9-5 win over the Chicago Storm at Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena, the Brazilian native stopped 80 percent of the shots he faced. Sunday afternoon, he held the Storm to four goals and improved to 6-3 on the season with Baltimore's 5-4 win at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. He saved 12 of 16 shots in that game (75 percent), and improved his overall save percentage to .732, which now ranks second just behind Milwaukee Wave All-Star Nick Vorberg at .734. Sagu inched ahead of St. Louis' All-Star goalkeeper Brett Phillips with a 4.61 goals against average to rank second to Vorberg's 4.29.
Baltimore (8-4) scores an MISL-best 6.9 goals per game and allows 4.9 goals, to rank third. In the 2004-05 season the now 32-year-old, eighth-year professional, who first spent six seasons in Dallas, ranked fifth in the MISL with a .697 save percentage and sixth with a 5.62 g.a.a. for Baltimore.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Drew Kopp, Philadelphia KiXX
Drew Kopp may be a sixth-year professional in the MISL and with the Philadelphia KiXX, but the Bridgeport, Conn., native and former University of Pittsburgh standout is having his most productive season to date as a defender now showcasing his offensive attacking abilities from along his position on the KiXX backline.
Following a strong defensive effort in Philadelphia's 8-5 win this past Monday (Jan. 16) at California, in which the Cougars couldn't crack the KiXX' for a goal for nearly one half, Philadelphia entered this past weekend with MISL All-Star defender Pat Morris and veteran defensive standout Vlatko Andonovski both inactive and injured. Therefore the KiXX leaned heavily upon Kopp in their home-and-home series versus the MISL-leading Milwaukee Wave, dropping both games but getting two more outstanding performances from their defender. Kopp totaled four goals on Friday and Saturday.
The 29-year-old scored three goals at U.S. Cellular Arena on Friday, his career first hat trick, in a 10-5 loss at U.S. Cellular Arena. He then added a goal the following night in a 7-4 loss before a Wachovia Spectrum crowd of 8,047. Kopp is tied with veteran Goran Vasic for the KiXX' season scoring lead with 12 points on eight goals and four assists in 11 games. Those totals surpass Kopp's total production in 33 games last season. He is within four points of establishing a new career-high for points. Kopp played forward and midfielder at Pittsburgh from 1995-98 and finished tied for fifth all-time in points for the Panthers. He was selected All-State as a senior at Cedar Crest High School in Lebanon, Penn.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Greg Howes, Milwaukee Wave
Greg Howes had the kind of weekend that Wave fans are accustomed to seeing, and the kinds of performances that further substantiate Howes's reputation as one of the MISL's elite goal-scoring threats that he's earned over the past several seasons. Howes' four goals, three assists, and two blocks, including the game-winning goal Friday and game-winning assist Saturday, helped Milwaukee snap a rare two-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over the Philadelphia KiXX, and the defending MISL Champions reclaimed sole possession of first-place in the MISL standings (11-3), one-half game ahead of St. Louis (10-3).
Howes, the MISL's two-time defending Spalding Scoring Champion, and two-time defending MISL MVP, enhanced his candidacy towards claiming a third Spalding award and another Hector Marinaro Trophy by becoming the MISL's first 30-point scorer of the season (17 goals, 13 assists). He and teammate Todd Dusosky (27 points) passed Baltimore's Adauto Neto (26) in the points' race for the first time since early November, and all three forwards rank in the League's top-four in points, goals, and assists.
Howes is the league leader in shots (75) with 28 more than his closest challenger. Most impressively, he's moved slightly ahead of Neto in the points per game statistic. Howes averages 2.308 points each match, slightly better than Neto's 2.167. Last season, the now 28-year-old native of Tacoma, Wash., scored 41 goals and 32 assists and finished with 73 points for the 2005 MISL Champions.