Team of the Week (Wk 3): Hard work, opportunistic touches pay off during Rivalry Week
Rivalry Week has come and gone, and though some will bemoan the relative lack of goals, there was no shortage of passion, hard work and controversy to keep viewers riveted and allow some of the league's best players to stand out.
Leading the way are the Montreal Impact, who have gotten off to a flying start this season, and have two of their most valuable contributors so far honored in this week's best XI.
Elsewhere, a series of gritty defensive performances and one player's heroic showing in goal all helped earn results in rivalry games and thus a selection on the Week 3 Team of the Week. Who exactly made the cut this time around? Read on to find out...
WATCH: Hamid stunner denies Barklage
GK: Bill Hamid (D.C. United) – Reminded us all why he is one of the league's most outstanding young goalkeepers with a seven-save, shutout performance in D.C.'s 0-0 draw with New York, capped by an excellent one-handed stop in injury time (right).
DF: Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids) – Nullified the threat of Álvaro Saborío for nearly all of Colorado's 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake. If Moor can keep leading the defense with the kind of play he showed Saturday, you can bet the Rapids won't concede close to the 50 goals they shipped during 2012.
DF: Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes) – Worked tirelessly up and down the left flank in San Jose's 1-1 draw at Columbus and grabbed the equalizer with an excellent finish from the edge of the area.
MF: Eric Avila (Chivas USA) – Offered up some brilliant moments of skill in Chivas' 1-1 SuperClasico draw against the Galaxy, but his highlight had to be the filtered pass to Carlos Borja that led to Chivas' equalizer.
GOAL: Bernier, Arnaud set up Di Vaio
MF: Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact) – Arguably the biggest catalyst in Montreal's 3-0-0 run to start the season, Bernier was at it again in the Impact's 2-1 win over Toronto, netting a goal from the penalty spot and delivering a an excellent secondary assist for what would become Marco Di Vaio's game-winner.
MF: Rafael Baca (San Jose Earthquakes) – Pulled the strings in the San Jose midfield in what was actually a very solid road outing for the injury-stricken Quakes. If there's one way the Quakes are going to weather their current injury crisis, it will be through continued strong play from the likes of Baca and Morrow.
MF: Jackson (FC Dallas) – One of the most dangerous men on the field in Dallas' 3-2 win over Houston. His speed and skill caused plenty of issues for Houston, and he had what would have been a Goal of the Week-worthy strike called off by a controversial offside flag.
FW: Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union) – HIs ability to react and follow up his shot for the lone goal in Philadelphia's 1-0 win over New England typified McInerney's hard-working performance. He's good at scoring goals which is task No. 1 for a poacher, but he also does the little things well, which is good to see from a player his age.
FW: Marco Di Vaio (Montreal Impact) – His poise was evidenced by his classy finish on what would stand on Montreal's game-winner, and the veteran Italian continues to cause headaches with his movement and ability to bring his teammates into play.
GOAL: Johnson finishes off counterattack
FW: Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders) – The most dangerous player on the field in Seattle's 1-1 draw with Portland. EJ continued to show why he merits consideration from US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann with his excellent finish and the consistent threat he posed both in the box and coming in from the flanks.
Coach: Marco Schällibaum (Montreal Impact) – After two effective defensive showings on the road, the Swiss coach allowed his team to open up a bit more at home against Toronto while still sticking to many of the same principles that have permeated Montreal's strong start, including strong play through the middle and frequent, intelligent off-the-ball movement.
Honorable Mention: Carlos Alvarez (Chivas USA), Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders), Davy Arnaud (Montreal Impact), Austin Berry (Chicago Fire), Carlos Borja (Chivas USA), Deshorn Brown (Colorado Rapids), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Andrew Driver (Houston Dynamo), Gláuber (Columbus Crew), Clint Irwin (Colorado Rapids), Dejan Jakovic (D.C. United), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy), Jamison Olave (New York Red Bulls), Jeff Parke (Philadelphia Union), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Oriol Rossell (Sporting Kansas City), Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake), Jonny Steele (New York Red Bulls), Rodney Wallace (Portland Timbers), Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders)