MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week: Week 14
NEW YORK — Things seem to be turning around for Vancouver Whitecaps FC after a 1-0 win over Philadelphia finally brought an end to a record 14-game winless run. And in another positive sign for manager Tom Soehn, his big name players have answered the bell with Designated Player Eric Hassli, playmaker Davide Chiumiento and left back Alain Rochat featuring prominently in their club's victory and the latest edition of the Team of the Week.
Alongside Hassli, New York's Thierry Henry is also back for a second consecutive week, while a third Frenchman — Sporting's Aurélien Collin — makes his debut on the Best XI together with former Venezuelan youth international and reigning Player of the Week Bernardo Anor.
GK: Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew) – It’s not just the saves, but more importantly the critical points at which they came during the Crew’s first-ever win in Houston.
DF: Alain Rochat (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) – Pure class on the goal strike and solid all-around defending against a tricky Union attack that is unpredictable.
DF: Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City) – The Frenchman is emerging into the physical, no-nonsense, veteran leader of a Sporting back line that has yet to give up a goal at Livestrong Sporting Park.
DF: Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy) – He wore the captain’s armband and led a solid LA back line against a Colorado Rapids team which threw three forwards at the Galaxy by halftime.
MF: Brek Shea (FC Dallas) – The positive and productive run of matches continues for Shea, who has not slowed down since signing the contract extension. Early candidate for league MVP.
MF: Bernardo Anor (Columbus Crew) – Unafraid to show his sublime skill in his first-ever MLS start, the University of South Florida product had a hand in both Crew goals and in a red card against the Dynamo. Impact player.
MF: Davide Chiumiento (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) – Speaking of sublime skill, Chiumiento’s influence on his team and on the matches he plays has continued to increase under new manager Tom Soehn, who has made him the focal point of the team’s possession-based attack.
MF: Chris Pontius (D.C. United) – A healthy and more experienced Pontius is a proven force in MLS and he almost won the match for DC at Rio Tinto Stadium with two shots that hit the crossbar and a great deal of enterprise.
MF: Juninho (LA Galaxy) – In his second year in MLS, the Brazilian added to his highlight-goal reel and continues to prove his ability to influence matches on both sides of the field. The Rapids were forced to resort to a red card foul to stop him.
FW: Eric Hassli (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) – Just as Chiumiento has begun to flourish, so has the French DP, who was dangerous throughout the match against Philadelphia — one of the more stingy back lines in MLS.
FW: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) – Maybe it’s not necessarily a bad thing that he seems to be heated on the field, even enough to earn a red card in Portland. He's scoring goals and his passion and will to win has injected life into an RBNY squad that is having to push through road trips, key player absences and only one win in their last eight.
Manager: Bruce Arena (LA Galaxy) – No David Beckham. No Landon Donovan. And a trip at altitude to visit the defending MLS Cup champs. That would make for a disastrous mix for some teams, but Arena's squad of pro's pros, including the hard-working fill-ins, kept plugging away and did enough once again to earn a big road win.
Honorable Mentions: Khalif Alhassan (Portland Timbers), Rich Balchan (Columbus Crew), Austin da Luz (New York Red Bulls), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Dwayne De Rosario (New York Red Bulls), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas), Jack Jewsbury (Portland Timbers), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Andrés Mendoza (Columbus Crew), Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders), Mauro Rosales (Seattle Sounders), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)