NSC Minnesota Stars Sweep NASL Player of the Week Honors
The North American Soccer League named NSC Minnesota Stars forward Devin Del Do its Offensive Player of the Week for his two-goal performance in Atlanta in the Stars’ 2-0 win against the Atlanta Silverbacks. Stars captain Kyle Altman was also honored by the league, taking Defensive Player of the Week honors for his role in the Stars’ shutout against Atlanta Saturday night and the club’s 1-1 draw in Puerto Rico against the defending second-division champion Puerto Rico Islanders last Wednesday.
“Both players had good weeks, so it’s pleasing as a coach to see them recognized,” said Stars head coach Manny Lagos. “Devin came on against Puerto Rico and gave us a spark then obviously took his two goals well in Atlanta. Playing away from home, you need consistency and leadership on defense, and I think Kyle did a great job keeping our line organized in those games.”
Del Do, a second-year forward for Minnesota, scored in the third minute Saturday against the Silverbacks to set the Stars on their way. The team continued to press in the first half but couldn’t find a second goal. As Atlanta looked for an equalizer in the second half, Del Do headed the Stars to a two-goal lead, converting a Brian Kallman cross from close range for his second goal of the game.
Despite his individual achievements against Atlanta, Del Do was quick to pay tribute to his entire team for the work that led to his goals. “We had a great defensive effort and transitioned quickly, and that led to some great chances for us to score,” he said. “As a forward, it’s my job to put away goals, but the build up to those goals definitely deserves credit.”
Centerback Altman helped lead that effort on defense as the Stars posted their fourth shutout of the season, on the road against Atlanta, and held the Islanders’ speedy attack to just one goal Wednesday night in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Altman has played all 990 minutes this season for the Stars, helping provide stability to a backline that has now conceded only three goals in the past six games.
Like Del Do, Altman was quick to share the honor with his teammates, stressing that defenses do well as a collective and usually not when one player is forced to stand out.
“On offense, you get recognized for the goals you score or create, but you win and lose as a team on defense,” he said. “It’s always a team effort. Any one of the six guys who defended over those two games—or Papa Joe [Warren]—could’ve been nominated for their role.”
Altman and Del Do are the second and third Stars to earn Player of the Week honors this season. Goalkeeper Joe Warren was named Defensive Player of the Week after the team’s season opener for his seven-save performance against Atlanta on April 9.
The Stars are training in Minnesota this week before traveling to South Florida Saturday night for a match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The Stars return home June 18 for a match against FC Edmonton, a game at which the team will be raising money for the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Red Cross. For tickets, call the Stars ticket office, (763) 792-7355 or visit the team’s website, NSCMinnesota.com.