Through five games, Patrick Vieira's Blues sit smack in the middle of the Eastern Conference fray: three points out of first place, but just four points above last.
Indeed, the only consistent thing about this team is its inconsistency. But don't tell that to Ronald Matarrita, who has been all class 360 minutes into his MLS career. The Tico fullback has yet to post a sub-par performance for NYCFC, owing to his redoubtable skill both on and off the ball. For his troubles, he leads New York City in WhoScored.com's player ratings (a fat 7.65), and just etched his name onto the current MLS Team of the Week.
Mata: he kills. (Major League Soccer)
Additionally, for his rugged contributions on the left wing Sunday, David Villa was named to the TotW bench.
Mata is the epoxy keeping the NYCFC Big Dig project from utterly collapsing into a heap of industrial waste. Along with Federico Bravo, he has spearheaded the team's custodial efforts at the back, both as a ball-winner -- he leads the team in interceptions per 90 minutes -- and as an able bodyguard/deflector shield for Andrea Pirlo.
Perhaps most telling of Matarrita's contributions? When Costa Rica national team duty precluded his participation in NYCFC's 1-1 draw against New England, the Blues posted their weakest all-around performance of 2016.
Here's to you, Mata. Think you can put one in the net, too?