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Workhorse of the Week: Champions League first leg

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Welcome to the inaugural Workhorse of the Week for the 2017 season. Step inside and vote for the top player from last week’s CCL action.

MLS: Arabe Unido at FC Dallas Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the new year, friends.

The Workhorse of the Week is my ongoing series here on BigD Soccer to give a chance for rabid and lukewarm fans of FC Dallas to voice their support to the kind of player who often gets overlooked and yet is crucial to the team’s success.

That’s what I mean by workhorse.

A workhorse is not the player who scored multiple goals and notched multiple assists, but the kind of hard working player who does the nitty, gritty effort in the trenches to give his team a chance for points. Their name may not be lit up in bright lights on the score sheet after the game, but their teammates and fans recognize that without their herculean energy a result was out of the question. This is a chance for us fans to show them some love.

With all that said, I’m open to everybody interpreting the workhorse in their own way. You may want to vote for someone who blasted home a goal or slotted forward the perfect assist. Heck, you may want to write your own name for braving the three hour commute north to the wilds of Frisco to enjoy awful beer and great soccer in the name of insatiable fandom. Whatever. Just vote, have fun, and share your reasoning in the comments below each entry.

This year, I want to emphasize a slight change - I’ll be doing one article for each week of game action, whether there is a single MLS fixture or multiple games, including friendlies, CCL action, and US Open Cup play. You only get to vote for one player across those games, so think through your choice wisely.

This past week:

FC Dallas opened up CONCACAF Champions League play with a game against Arabe Unido, crushing the hapless Panamanian visitors on home turf 4-0.

There are plenty of players to give a nod to for their MVP-like play. Kellyn Acosta was a ruthless villain to Arabe Unido, planting nightmares in their fragile psyches with his two goals and relentless midfield play. Michael Barrios, Cristian Colman, and Tesho Akindele also get nods for goals, assists, and utter destruction wrecked upon their unsuspecting Panamian foes. Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges were their typical selves, dominating and terrifying, like marauding giants at a children’s tea party.

No, a workhorse belongs to a guy like Carlos Gruezo who seemed a little more content to pester the opposing team, disappear out of sight, and reappear in time to remind them that life is not fair. He did not end up with any great stats nor was his name called time and time again. He did the kind of foundational work that let FC Dallas’ offensive stars attempt to build their own version of attacking perfection. Great quiet solid midfield work!

Another great nomination would be for Maxi Urruti. I would prefer that Maxi score a hat trick everytime he plays, but even as the game neared its end, Urruti was still relentless, closing down defenders, hustling to get back into the play, and showing his team that there are no days off in this sport. Maxi deserved to score, but because of who this guy is, he plays like scoring isn’t as important as playing every minute at 100. I love this guy, and he deserves a vote.

(FYI - I make no promises to write ridiculous stuff like this each week, so enjoy it while it lasts. Unlike Urruti, I do phone it in sometimes.)

It’s your turn. Do you want to suggest someone else? Do you want to critique my overly elaborate writing or my poor tactical knowledge? Do it below, and vote!