WILMINGTON, NC July 9, 2013 – Hickory native and former UNCW goalkeeper Brad Knighton has been named Major League Soccer’s Player-of-the-Week after sparking surging Vancouver in two key matches last week.
Knighton, who starred at Richmond’s Mills Godwin High School before a stellar career with the Seahawks, made two saves in Vancouver FC’s draw against Sporting Kansas City early last week before topping that with seven saves and an impressive assist in a 2-0 victory over rival Seattle on Saturday.
The seven saves against the Sounders was a career-high for Knighton and the second most by a ‘Caps keeper in MLS. The shutout was Knighton’s second in three matches after he posted a clean sheet on June 29 against D.C. United.
“By far, hands down, that’s the best game I’ve ever played,” Knighton, 28, told reporters following Saturday’s win over their Cascadia rivals. “I haven’t had an assist since high school, so it was quite nice.”
Knighton’s assist came on Vancouver’s insurance goal when he ripped one of his signature lengthy goal kicks onto the head of Gerhson Koffie, who tapped the ball forward to Darren Mattocks for the goal.
The victory was the first for the Whitecaps over Seattle FC since joining MLS and extended Vancouver’s unbeaten streak to five matches. Since beating out Joe Cannon as the Whitecaps FC goalie in mid-May, Knighton has lost just once for Coach Martin Rennie’s squad.
Knighton and his club return to the pitch on July 14 when Eastern Conference side Chicago visits BC Place for a 4 p.m. kickoff.
The MLS Player-of-the-Week is selected each week of the regular season by a panel of journalists from North American print, television, radio and on-line media reporters.
Knighton, a First-Team All-Colonial Athletic Association pick in 2006, is UNCW’s career shutout leader with 25 clean sheets and ranks second all-time in goals against average (1.08). He started 73-of-75 games between the pipes from 2003-06 and ranks first in goal minutes played with 6,891 minutes over four seasons.