Team of the Week (Wk 24): Stars making their cases for MVP as season hits stretch run

With only two months left in the regular season, teams are focusing on the playoffs, either trying to get themselves in or fighting for positioning. To achieve whatever their particular goal is, all teams need to rely upon their stars for big performances, and that is exactly what a handful of teams got this week.

In a huge Cascadia battle, the Sounders came away with a relatively easy 4-2 victory over their bitter rivals. This was due in large part to DP forward Obafemi Martins. After not scoring since June, Martins had two goals and an assist on Sunday.

The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the Eastern Conference faced off on Saturday night in what was expected to be a nailbiter, but Fabián Espíndola and D.C. United put up three goals in the first 31 minutes as United cruised to a 3-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City. The Argentinian added another goal to his tally and has an impressive nine goals and eight assists in just 18 games this season.

Who else earned a spot on the latest Team of the Week? Read on to find out.

GK: Bobby Shuttleworth (New England Revolution) – Earned his sixth shutout of the season, making four saves along the way, as the Revolution topped Chivas USA 1-0.

D: Zach Loyd (FC Dallas) – Led the FCD back line despite the side being down a man. Made two vital tackles, one in each half, to keep RSL off the board as Dallas won 2-1

D: Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United) – Is throwing his name into the Rookie of the Year hat with yet another strong showing, helping his team grab a shutout on the road as D.C. beat SKC 3-0.

D: Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders) – Marshall did not set a foot wrong vs. the Timbers (although he did get away with a handball in the first half). He was a rock at the back for much of the 90 minutes as the Sounders cruised past the Timbers 4-2.

M: Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union) – A goal and three assists for the Union playmaker helped his side get past the Earthquakes 4-2 for a crucial W.

M: Perry Kitchen (D.C. United) – Did very well to take advantage of the sleeping KC defense to grab D.C.’s third counterattack goal and helped disrupt the hosts defensively all night.

M: Justin Meram (Columbus Crew) – With a goal and an assist for the second week in a row and a third goal in three games, Meram is one of the hottest players in the league right now, as he led Columbus to a 3-0 victory over Houston.

M: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) – Two games, two game-winning goals for the all-time great. LD is hitting his stride at the right time, helping Galaxy get six points this week.

F: Fabián Espíndola (D.C. United) – Continues to keep his name in the MVP conversation by setting the tone early and starting the onslaught with a good individual effort.

F: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) – Another virtuoso performance from the 37-year-old Frenchman. Henry scored two goals and assisted on another as the Red Bulls captured all three points at home.

F: Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders) – The Nigerian forward terrorized the Timbers from start to finish. He scored two goals and had an assist, and his second tally came after some incredibly impressive and nifty dribbling moves in tight spaces.

Coach: Ben Olsen (D.C. United) – D.C. have now beaten the MLS Cup champions twice this season, and Olsen has them firing on all cylinders at the right time.

Bench: Steve Clark (Columbus Crew), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Scott Caldwell (New England Revolution), Fabián Castillo (FC Dallas), Andrew Wenger (Philadelphia Union), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)