CHESTER, Pa. — Roland Alberg has never in his life been on a tear like he’s on right now.
And he’s being rewarded for it.
On Tuesday, the Union midfielder was named MLS Player of the Week after scoring four goals in his last two games, including the second hat trick in franchise history in Wednesday’s 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire.
“It’s a good honor,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said following Tuesday’s practice. “I’m really happy with his contribution right now. And I think it’s the just start of something.”
Before his four-goal week, Alberg scored on a penalty kick in last Saturday’s 3-2 loss in New York City FC and logged a pair of goals in Philly’s 3-2 U.S. Open Cup victory on June 15.
That win set the Union up for a U.S. Open Cup showdown with the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday at Talen Energy Stadium, where Alberg will once again likely be asked to carry much of the offensive load with standout striker C.J. Sapong questionable with an ankle injury.
“You need multiple players that can score goals,” Curtin said. “And he’s a guy that can, whether it’s with his right foot, left foot. You’ve seen in very limited minutes, he’s already second on the team in shots on goal. He gets on the ball and his first look is to play forward and go to the goal.”
Curtin still hopes to see some defensive improvements from Alberg, whose playing time sharply increased following the sudden departure of Vincent Nogueira due to personal health reasons.
For now, though, the Union are thrilled with the offensive production of a player who now has five league goals in only 512 minutes. He’s second on the team in scoring to Chris Pontius, who was named MLS Player of the Week earlier this month.
Alberg’s honor marks the first time in club history two players have been named MLS Player of the Week in the same season.
Before this season, the only players to win the award were Jack McInerney (2013), Justin Mapp (2011) and Sebastien Le Toux (twice in 2010).