Team of the Week (Wk 5): Midfield might the name of the game in latest round of MLS action
Week 5 proved a quiet week for the league's top strikers – perhaps best-evidenced by Chris Wondolowski's struggles against the Houston Dynamo – but don't mistake that for a lack of goals. Though no striker scored more than once, there was plenty of room for midfielders to shine all across MLS.
The numbers back this claim up, with the five midfielders honored here accounting for four goals, two assists and plenty of strong offensive play between them, while even one of the forwards honored counts the midfield as his usual home.
Despite the lack of standout attackers in Week 5, though, one familiar name did manage to make a big impression off the bench in a crucial match for his team, while on the other end of the field, strong defensive showings across the league partially helped to explain the struggles of mnay of the league's other forwards.
Who made the cut this time around? Read on to find out, and be sure to voice your opinion in the comments section below...
SAVE: Gspurning denies Plata on the break
GK: Michael Gspurning (Seattle Sounders) – The Sounders may be struggling out of the gates in 2013, but Gspurning sure isn't. The Austrian shot-stopper once again pulled a number of impressive saves out of his hat against RSL, but it was all for naught as Seattle fell 2-1.
DF: Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City) – The right back was very impressive in his return to the Sporting lineup, covering plenty of ground and making big contributions on both sides of the ball for Sporting.
DF: Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo) – Deserves much of the credit for keeping reigning Golden Boot champ Wondolowski quiet as the Quakes failed to really get going offensively in their 2-0 loss to the Dynamo.
DF: Bobby Burling (Chivas USA) – Has quietly put together a solid start to the season as a starter in Chelís' three-man backline and was particularly active in Saturday night's 2-1 win over Vancouver, tracking his man and using his aerial prowess to his advantage.
GOAL: Zusi shows off his strength
MF: Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) – Didn't miss a beat in Sporting's 2-0 win over Montreal despite featuring at Estadio Azteca just a few days earlier. Showed great strength and timing on the finish for his goal and posed an offensive threat throughout the encounter.
MF: Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake) – Found himself in the middle of nearly everything RSL put together in their 2-1 win over Seattle and held up more than ably. Hit a precise header to finish off a well-worked set piece for Real's eventual winner.
MF: Will Johnson (Portland Timbers) – Scored both goals as he lived up to the role of team captain and took his team from 2-0 down to a 2-2 draw at altitude against the Colorado Rapids.
MF: Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas) – Was immense in the middle of the park as Dallas snatched a late 1-0 win on the road against New England. Shut down nearly everything the Revolution attempted to create through the midfield, allowing the FCD attackers more comfort going forward.
MF: Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City) – There's the Benny we all know and love. The Sporting new boy was back at his best in Saturday's 2-0 win over Montreal, setting up both goals and playing key role in the middle as his team dominanted the Imapct.
GOAL: Henry's classy finish
FW: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) – Put in about as good a performance off the bench as you could ask of anyone, nearly scoring a Goal of the Year candidate from a bicycle kick before putting away a deft finish to hand New York a 2-1 win over Philadelphia.
FW: Mike Magee (LA Galaxy) – Continued his red-hot start to the season with another goal to open the scoring in the Galaxy's 2-2 draw at Toronto. Newly named MLS Player of the Month perhaps could have picked up a second, too, but he'll still be happy with another strong performance for Bruce Arena's side.
Coach: Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City) – Came up with a solid game plan in an encounter with then-perfect Montreal that was billed as a clash of styles. The Sporting midfield overwhelmed its opposite number – a group that included former KC man Davy Arnaud and the red-hot Patrice Bernier – allowing the team to get the goals at needed while giving the defense a fairly smooth time of things.
Bench: Raúl Fernández (FC Dallas), Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Boniek García (Houston Dynamo), Eric Avila (Chivas USA), Tony Cascio (Colorado Rapids), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy)