You knew that Ronald Matarrita was good. He’s made MLS Teams of the Week before. But there’s something about this 2017 version of the Costa Rica international fullback that’s particularly compelling: the man is just aggressive, and relentlessly so.
While the defensive side of his game needs to keep improving, the explosive attacking verve packed into that 5’9” frame is downright fearsome. It’s amazing that the world hasn’t imploded on itself given that Mata shares the left half of the field with the rugged, ruthless Rodney Wallace. It’s like when the Knicks had Mason and Oak at the same time. Critical mass, people. We’re talking blood and guts here.
David Villa made the bench of this week’s MLS honor roll because he apparently did a thing, but the biggest praise on the day goes to Matarrita. Enjoy these performances while you can— there are many more to come, but one day he’ll be doing with a different badge on his chest. But for now, he’s our guy. And that’s a good thing.
FWD: Fredy Montero (Vancouver), Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago), Luis Solignac (Chicago)
MID: Justin Meram (Columbus), Ilie Sánchez (Sporting KC), Will Johnson (Orlando City)
DEF: MATAAA, Jonathan Spector (Orlando City), Nicolai Naess (Columbus), Ike Opara (Sporting KC)
GK: Tim Melia (Sporting KC)
BENCH: Joe Bendik (Orlando City), Tim Parker (Vancouver), Dax McCarty (Chicago), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago), Alex Muyl (Red Bulls), Kevin Molino (Minnesota), GUAAAJEEE
MANAGER: Mike Petke (Real Salt Lake)