Team of the Week (Wk 11): United's big week rewarded
D.C. United were given ample opportunity to make a statement in the race for the Eastern Conference over the past week, and promptly seized on the chance. Their excellent form translated into two comfortable wins as they kept pace with the New York Red Bulls, and that effort resulted in plenty of love for the Black-and-Red in this week's selection.
Even though they didn't win, the New England Revolution also had two players named this week for their continued contributions to a revitalized offense, while a pair of goalscoring defenders backed up their tallies with solid efforts to earn their spots.
Finally, look for one of the big names involved in last week's trade bonanza rewarded for his seamless transition onto a new roster.
GK: Andy Gruenebaum (Columbus Crew) – A simply superlative performance from the Crew backstop, stonewalling the Earthquakes at every turn, including a stop on a Chris Wondolowski spot kick.
DF: Eric Brunner (Portland Timbers) – Didn’t feature in Portland’s midweek draw at Houston, but that might have been for the best, considering his goal and solid defensive effort that keyed a much-needed win for Portland on the weekend.
DF: Danny Califf (Chivas USA) – There was no adjustment period necessary for the Southern California native, who put in a sterling 90-minute shift to help keep a clean sheet and give Chivas a long-awaited win over their in-stadium rivals.
DF: Alain Rochat (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Swiss defender certainly turned heads with his Goal of the Week contender, but also put in a solid 90 minutes against Seattle’s vaunted first-choice attack.
MF: Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution) – Even without the statistical output to match, the midfielder proved last week’s breakout was no fluke. His speed and trickery caused problems all game long for Houston and he was instrumental in the play leading up to Saër Sène’s penalty kick.
MF: Martín Rivero (Colorado Rapids) – The Argentine is quickly finding his feet in Oscar Pareja’s system and showed by orchestrating the Rapids’ comeback from two goals down, where he picked up an assist.
MF: Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United) – Instrumental in two United wins over the course of a week. A goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Colorado and another two in the 3-1 win over Toronto over the weekend made him a shoo-in for Player of the Week.
MF: Joel Lindpere (New York Red Bulls) – Down a man, the Red Bulls had to grind one out against Montreal over the weekend and did just that, in large part thanks to Lindpere’s effort in the center of the pitch, where he helped set up Dane Richards’ winner and got a call to the Estonian national team for his troubles.
FW: Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City) – After a largely anonymous start to the season, Bunbury had the breakout game he and Sporting were looking for, with his explosive performance yielding two goals, even if his side ended up squandering them.
FW: Hamdi Salihi (D.C. United) – Aside from his handball gaffe on Saturday, the striker continued his impeccable recent form, bagging a goal in each of United’s wins over the course of the week to bring his season total to four.
FW: Saër Sène (New England) – Given the way Mario Gomez was finishing in the Champions League final, Bayern Munich might have wished they held on to the Frenchman. Instead, he continued his torrid form with another two goals against Houston, including an excellent individual effort.
Coach: Ben Olsen (D.C. United) – Managed his charges well over a stretch of two games in a week. Got contributions from lesser-used and start players alike, came out with six points, five goals for and just one against.
Honorable Mention: Branko Boskovic (D.C. United), Luiz Camargo (Houston Dynamo), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (New York Red Bulls), Julian de Guzman (Toronto FC), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Gabriel Gómez (Philadelphia Union), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Justin Meram (Columbus Crew), Oswaldo Minda (Chivas USA), Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders), Hanyer Mosquera (Portland Timbers), Lewis Neal (D.C. United), Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire), Troy Perkins (Portland Timbers), Nelson Rivas (Montreal Impact)