SAN JOSE, Calif. – San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Cristian Espinoza was voted Major League Soccer’s Player of the Week for Week 8 of the 2022 MLS season. Espinoza scored three goals, including the stoppage-time game-winner, and added one assist during Saturday night’s 4-3 victory over Seattle Sounders FC. Espinoza was also selected to Major League Soccer’s Team of the Week along with interim head coach Alex Covelo, who was making his MLS head coaching debut.
With the team trailing 2-0 in the first half, Espinoza halved the deficit for the Quakes just moments before halftime on a left-footed volley. Seattle increased their lead to 3-1 early in the second half, before Espinoza netted his second goal and tallied an assist on Jackson Yueill’s goal to tie the match. San Jose completed the comeback when video review awarded the team a penalty kick in stoppage time, and Espinoza stepped up to convert. It marked his first MLS hat-trick and first career multi-goal game.
The MLS Player of the Week honor is the first of Espinoza’s career. He is the first Earthquakes player to win the award this year and is the club’s fourth different player to win the award since the start of the 2021 season, joining Cade Cowell (Week 3, 2021), Chris Wondolowski (Week 4, 2021) and Chofis (Week 26, 2021).
Espinoza’s performance is just the third time in club history that a player tallied 3+ goals and an assist in a single game (Chris Wondolowski – July 14, 2012; Steven Lenhart – June 11, 2011).
The MLS Player of the Week presented by Continental Tire is selected each week of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.
MLS TEAM OF THE WEEK FOR WEEK 8
F: Maxi Urruti (ATX), Leonardo Campana (MIA), Jesus Jimenez (TOR)
M: Taxi Fountas (DC), Emanuel Reynoso (MIN), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Cristian Espinoza (SJ)
D: Derrick Williams (LA), Aaron Long (RBNY), Kortne Ford (SKC)
GK: William Yarbrough (COL)
Coach: Alex Covelo (SJ)
Bench: Roman Celentano (CIN), Bill Tuiloma (POR), Sebastian Driussi (ATX), Carles Gil (NE), Nicolas Lodeiro (SEA), Alan Velasco (DAL), Taty Castellanos (NYC)
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ESPINOZA (APRIL 23)
On scoring three goals and the game-winning goal tonight:
“It’s a very happy feeling because I like to score goals. I think that the best thing that can happen to a player is that unique feeling, and I was able to feel that three different times today. Hopefully I can continue to help the team with goals or assists.”
On the moments leading up to the late penalty:
“You feel some pressure knowing that if you score, you’ll win the game, and if you miss, we tie. But you have to stay focused without thinking about the crowd noise and stay focused on the execution and where you want to aim your kick. Those are moments that you dream of as a kid thinking that one day, you’ll get to take a penalty kick in the last minute of a game. That happened today and I’m very happy.”