Team of the Week (Wk 19): Goals galore, but that's not all
There was no shortage of scoring to be found in Week 19, with an average of 3.6 goals per game over nine weekend games and a midweek game. While this made some choices for the week's Best XI relatively straightforward, it also masked some of the under-the-radar performances that nonetheless keyed important wins.
Whether it was Sporting's workmanlike performance in Columbus or Philadelphia's late show that sent them to their fourth league win in five tries, both teams had performers honored not necessarily because of their statistical contribution, but because of their impressive efforts over a full 90 minutes.
Also notable were the contributions of DPs to the goalscoring glut this week, so it is no surprise that three of them, both recent arrivals and league mainstays, made the cut.
GK: Milos Kocic (Toronto FC) – Though occasionally shaky in the midweek win over Vancouver, the Serb put in a heroic performance to make Luis Silva’s goal stand up in the weekend win over New England, making some impressive saves to keep the team afloat.
DF: Jason Hernandez (San Jose Earthquakes) – Behind the Quakes’ offensive outburst in their thrashing of Real Salt Lake stood a quiet, but stern defense, with Hernandez at the heart of things. Thanks largely to his composed defensive play, Jon Busch didn’t have to face a single shot on goal after the 14th minute, which included a full half of 11-v-11 soccer before Kyle Beckerman's red.
DF: Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union) – US fans must be wondering at this point why Okugo couldn’t have played center back in the Olympic qualifying campaign. The 21-year-old turned in another excellent performance alongside Carlos Valdés, blunting Montreal’s attack and intercepting and clearing everything that came his way.
DF: Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) – The rookie has quietly emerged as one of the steadiest performers for Frank Klopas’ side and put in another excellent defensive performance that allowed 10-man Chicago to grind out a 1-0 win against Vancouver.
MF: Boniek García (Houston Dynamo) – Made things happen for the Dynamo all night in their 4-0 romp over D.C., with the highlight being him starting and finishing the move that resulted in the Dynamo’s third goal of the contest.
MF: David Beckham (LA Galaxy) – On a night when Designated Players took center stage, none shone brighter than the Englishman, who followed up a gorgeous long-range strike with a trademark free kick goal to help inspire the Galaxy to an emphatic win over Portland.
MF: Luis Silva (Toronto FC) – Few things help lift the spirits like scoring goals and that’s exactly what the rookie has done after a rough month. He netted with a clever redirect in the Reds’ midweek win against Vancouver and finished off a fine move to score the lone goal in their road shutout of New England.
MF: Fabián Castillo (FC Dallas) – The young Colombian showed exactly what MLS fans have been hoping to see from him, inspiring Dallas to a win over Colorado with his electric play, which earned him a goal and an assist.
FW: Kei Kamara (Sporting Kansas City) – A willing runner all game long and the catalyst for Teal Bunbury’s insurance goal, Kamara didn’t jump out on the stat sheet this week but his massive effort was one of the biggest factors in Sporting’s win at Columbus.
FW: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) – Keane was frequently pointing at where he wanted the ball served to him, and when that service was spot on, so was his finishing. His pair of goals in the Galaxy’s wild win over Portland should dissuade some of the criticism of his finishing that’s come his way, at least for now.
FW: Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) – Speaking of finishing, no one is doing it better than this man. His hat trick and assist in San Jose’s 5-0 win over RSL cemented his status as the best forward in the league and set him up to making a record-breaking run.
Coach: Paul Mariner (Toronto FC) – The Englishman must be credited with the belief and fighting spirit he has instilled in his charges since taking over to Aron Winter. They pulled out an improbable win in midweek after conceding a 90th-minute equalizer to Vancouver and then pulling out another win under heavy pressure at New England on Saturday.
Honorable Mentions: Víctor Bernárdez (San Jose Earthquakes), Kris Boyd (Portland Timbers), Luiz Camargo (Houston Dynamo), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Terry Dunfield (Toronto FC), Álvaro Fernández (Seattle Sounders), Sean Franklin (LA Galaxy), Bill Gaudette (New York Red Bulls), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Adam Johansson (Seattle Sounders), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Mac Kandji (Houston Dynamo), Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union), Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City), Pável Pardo (Chicago Fire), Jacob Peterson (Sporting Kansas City), Donovan Ricketts (Montreal Impact), Carlos Rodríguez (FC Dallas), Shea Salinas (San Jose Earthquakes), Marcelo Sarvas (LA Galaxy), Carlos Valdés (Philadelphia Union).