Team of the Week (Wk 32): Big wins mean big rewards as playoff race gets tighter
If you put five goals past your opponent, chances are you're probably going to get a few Team of the Week nods, so it's no surprise that the two teams that put up five spots over the weekend — LA and Colorado — combined for a total of five spots in this week's selection.
Throw in the goal-happy Chicago Fire and you have three teams that combined to win by a margin of 13-1 and were honored with seven spots among the best players in Week 32.
Of course, the New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers will argue that draws aren't so bad, either. It's not a blowout win, but the blew a late lead before snatching a dramatic equalizer from their offensive leader, who's honored this week, while the Timbers secured a solid result of their own in Vancouver, with both teams sending a player to the selection after a fun, four-goal affair.
Which offensive stars made the cut this week? Read on to find out...
SAVE: Johnson comes up huge
GK: Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) – Simply incredible between the sticks in Chicago's 3-0 win over D.C. United. Looked agile, confident, and promising as ever en route to eight saves, a shutout and a big boost to Chicago's playoff chances.
DF: Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids) – Colorado's attack exploded in a 5-1 win over the Seattle Sounders, but they could feel comfortable going forward knowing that Moor was rock-steady in the back. Got the better of his aerial battles, distributed well, cleaned up most messes on the backline and even chipped in with goal of own.
DF: Bakary Soumaré (Chicago Fire) – Did his job at the back with little fuss against D.C. United and added a quality finish off a set piece to cap one of his better games to date since returning to the FIre.
MF: Vicente Sánchez (Colorado Rapids) – Served extremely effectively as the fulcrum of the Rapids attack against the Sounders, chipping in two assists and confounding defenders with his movement and vision.
GOAL: Nagbe hits a stunner
MF: Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) – Showed off the many facets of his game in Portland's 2-2 draw at Vancouver on Sunday evening. Struck an outstanding goal to open the scoring and showed great instinct and athletic ability to set up Will Johnson for Portland's second.
MF: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls) – Continued to push the New York offense forward in the hunt for the Supporters' Shield with a man of the match performance in their 2-2 draw with New England rounded out by a dramatic, 97th-minute game-tying goal.
MF: Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) – The man of the match in LA's 5-0 thumping of city rivals Chivas USA, Zardes dominated the left flank, setting up the Galaxy's first two goals before adding one of his own.
FW: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) – Is there any doubt at all that he's the greatest player in the history of MLS? Tied the all-time scoring record with his second of two goals, a spectacular chip of Dan Kennedy, and supplied a beautiful assist in LA's SuperClásico win.
FW: Deshorn Brown (Colorado Rapids) – Made a big shout in the Rookie of the Year race with an outstanding display against Seattle. His speed and finishing ability accounted for two Colorado goals – including the second-fastest in MLS history – and he was virtually unplayable for large portions of the game.
GOAL: Camilo's flying finish
FW: Camilo (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Came to BC Place with his shooting boots on, presenting himself as one of the most persistent threats to the Portland defense. Ended up hitting both goals for the 'Caps, including a flying overhead finish to cap off a frantic, three-goal sequence.
Coach: Oscar Pareja (Colorado Rapids) – Watch out for the Rapids. There's no doubt at this point that Pareja's team is humming along after that thumping of Seattle, from that pre-planned 13-second goal to way they absolutely demolished the Sounders in the first half while playing some great soccer. A Coach of the Year candidate no doubt. If you read Spanish, be sure to catch this excellent long-form piece on him from FutbolMLS.com.
Bench: Donovan Ricketts (Portland Timbers), Jair Benítez (FC Dallas), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Kléberson (Philadelphia Union), Boniek García (Houston Dynamo), Dillon Powers (Colorado Rapids), Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake)