Making The Case: Kalif Alhassan for 2011 MLS All-Star Game

Ghanaian's deft touch key tool for Timbers attack

Kalif Alhassan, Timbers vs. RSL, 4.30.11

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

While the latest MLSsoccer.com polling numbers show Portland Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury along with defender Mamadou “Futty” Danso among the leaders for their respective positions in voting for the 2011 MLS All-Star Game, it was an entirely different Timbers player who was selected by one of the MLSsoccer.com editors when asked to create the best team to specifically beat the All-Star opponent Manchester United. That player? Young Timbers midfielder Kalif Alhassan.

“There may be nothing in MLS as exciting as watching Alhassan take defenders 1-v-1 on the dribble,” wrote MLSsoccer.com’s Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle. “The Ghanaian has perfect touch and balance, a nose for the ball and fearlessness pushing into the attack.”

Discovered last season while playing for Liberty Professionals in his native Ghana—a club that also produced Asamoah Gyan and Michael Essien—the diminutive Alhassan came over to the USSF D-2 edition of the Timbers and scored a memorable chip shot goal in stoppage time against the Puerto Rico Islanders in the USSF D-2.

Brought along for the Timbers inaugural MLS season, Alhassan's touch and ability on the ball has been among the best in the league. Witness his dribbling through five—yes, five—FC Dallas defenders back in April to set up fellow All-Star nominee Rodney Wallace’s goal.
 

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With five assists on the season so far, he is second only to Jewsbury’s six on the squad and his presence on the wings has given a strong dynamic to the fast paced attacking style that head coach John Spencer has implemented. Though Alhassan and the team have been in a bit of an offensive rut as of late, keep in mind that he is only 20 years old with a wealth of potential and promise.

Take one look at his touch on this cross to Kenny Cooper against Real Salt Lake and then imagine him doing the same thing against the Red Devils on July 27 in New York.
 

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Be sure to vote Kalif Alhassan for the 2011 MLS All-Star Game Starting XI along with all our Timbers nominees: Cooper, Danso, Jewsbury, Jorge Perlaza, and Wallace. Voting ends July 5 at 11:59 PM.