Team of the Week (Wk 19): Huge slate of games gives stars ample opportunity to shine
With 16 games on the Week 19 slate in MLS, there was plenty of time for players across the league to shine, with every team in the league playing at least one game, and many playing two.
Of course, it also makes picking a Team of the Week harder, with many players making a star turn one game before becoming just another name on the stat sheet in the next. By and large, the players selected here made the most of the two games they played this week, although in some cases – a certain Sounder forward and Whitecaps goalkeeper come to mind – one big showing was enough to land them a selection.
Which players made the cut after a strong pair of games, and who did well enough in just one game to beat out the competitors? Read on to find out...
GK: Brad Knighton (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Absolutely phenomenal in Vancouver's 2-0 win over Seattle. Made seven stops on the night, mostly of the highlight-reel variety, and none better than his double stop on Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson.
DF: Danny O'Rourke (Columbus Crew) – Made a very successful return to the center back spot against the LA Galaxy, keeping Robbie Keane in his pocket for most of the match. Also turned in a solid outing has the Crew kept a clean sheet and snapped the Portland Timbers' unbeaten streak with a 1-0 win on Sunday.
DF: José Gonçalves (New England Revolution) – Had a field day against a sluggish San Jose Earthquakes side, ensuring his opponents did not even get a sniff at goal as New England won 2-0, and probably should have increased the margin of victory.
DF: Chris Klute (Colorado Rapids) – One of the Rapids' most active players on both attack and defense over the course of their two games. His speed and crossing ability were plainly evident in a 2-0 win over New York, where he set up the final goal, and he kept it up against D.C. United, only for him and his team to leave with just a single point from a 0-0 draw.
MF: Eric Avila (Chivas USA) – Ran Chivas' midfield as they picked up a pair of draws away to some of the best teams in the league. Kept Dallas honest with his attacking initiative in their midweek draw, and capped another active performance with his team's lone goal in a 1-1 draw at Montreal.
MF: Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) – Put in a tireless 180 minutes in a 1-1 draw against Vancouver and a 2-1 win at Chicago. Was all over the place in both games, finding openings, creating chances, and even bagging a goal in the Chicago game with a cross/shot. It may not have been entirely intentional, but good things happen when you put a ball like that in.
MF: Marcelo Sarvas (LA Galaxy) – A juggernaut in the midfield in LA's comprehensive 2-0 victory over FC Dallas on Sunday night. Along with Juninho, he was superb in denying Dallas any chance of mounting a threatening attack, his passing was on point, and LA finally broke through thanks to his header after a clever run into the box.
MF: Bernardo Añor (Columbus Crew) – Netted twice in two games for the Crew – the first nearly stood as the game-winner against the LA Galaxy in a late 2-1 loss, while his second did win the game against a tough Portland Timbers side.
FW: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) – Showed once again why he's the best attacking player in MLS over two excellent games this week. Kept his cool to convert two late penalties to hand the Galaxy a win over the Columbus Crew, and supplied all the attacking initiative, if not the goals as LA made a statement in their win over Dallas.
FW: Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders) – Once again showed off his finishing prowess in netting both goals in a 2-0 midweek win over D.C. United. Was thwarted against Vancouver only by some superb goalkeeping from Brad Knighton.
FW: Jeremy Brockie (Toronto FC) – The center of Toronto's attacking explosion in their wild 3-3 draw against the Montreal Impact. Netted his first MLS goal and set up another, only to see his team crumble defensively and drop a two-goal lead in the second half.
Coach: José Luis Real (Chivas USA) – Credit where it's due. They may not be pretty to look at going forward, but Real's influence has helped stem the tide of goals against his team and guided them to a pair of road draws against two of the toughest teams in the league. Carlos Bocanegra will provide more defensive help from here on out and maybe, just maybe, Real will be able to focus on getting the goals flowing.
Bench: Raúl Fernández (FC Dallas), Brad Rusin (Vancouver Whitecaps) , Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Boniek García (Houston Dynamo), Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union), Deshorn Brown (Colorado Rapids), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire)