It seems to always happen to Eddie Gaven.
The Columbus Crew midfield stalwart is the star of Week 24 in MLS — he ranks No. 1 on this week's Castrol Top 20 — but all the talk in Crew-landia is dominated by newcomer Federico Higuaín, the next coming of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who made a promising debut in Houston.
He may never have the spotlight all to himself, but the 25-year-old Gaven continues to be one of the model professionals in MLS, now in his 10th league season. And the reluctant star with the unassuming posture and anti-poster boy facial hair has become an increasingly visible leader on the Crew this year, scoring on a clinical breakaway against the Dynamo.
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Despite finishing tops in the Castrol Top 20, Gaven couldn't replicate the feat of Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who appears twice on the list (No. 11 and No. 15). His performance in midweek against Toronto FC and then on the weekend against the New York Red Bulls both ranked among the Top 20.
Equally encouraging for Timbers fans is the fact that winger Sal Zizzo finished at No. 4 after a Team of the Week showing at Red Bull Arena. Also, Portland forward Bright Dike, who made his first MLS start over the weekend, did enough to break into this week's list (No. 20).
Designated Players Thierry Henry (No. 2), Marco Di Vaio (No. 5), Robbie Keane (No. 8), Fabián Castillo (No. 10) and Eric Hassli (No. 18) all earned their title by figuring in the Top 20.
Meanwhile, Hassli's teammate Luis Silva (No. 3) is one of two MLS rookies as Chicago defender Austin Berry makes yet another appearance among the league's elite (No. 7).
Weekly Top 20 Performers - Week 24+ Powered by Castrol Index
|1||Eddie Gaven||Midfielder||Columbus Crew||90||1,289||Houston Dynamo|
|2||Thierry Henry||Forward||NY Red Bulls||90||1,211||Portland Timbers|
|3||Luis Silva||Forward||Toronto FC||90||1,181||Portland Timbers|
|4||Sal Zizzo||Midfielder||Portland Timbers||66||1,169||Toronto FC|
|5||Marco Di Vaio||Forward||Montreal Impact||74||1,147||San Jose|
|6||Jimmy Nielsen||Goalkeeper||Sporting Kansas City||90||1,146||Toronto FC|
|7||Austin Berry||Defender||Chicago Fire||90||1,139||New England|
|8||Robbie Keane||Forward||LA Galaxy||90||1,130||Columbus Crew|
|9||Brian Mullan||Midfielder||Colorado Rapids||90||1,091||Chivas USA|
|10||Fabian Castillo||Midfielder||FC Dallas||83||1,070||Vancouver|
|11||Darlington Nagbe*||Midfielder||Portland Timbers||90||1,025||NY Red Bulls|
|12||Jeff Parke||Defender||Seattle Sounders||90||1,006||Vancouver|
|13||Heath Pearce||Defender||NY Red Bulls||90||983||Portland Timbers|
|14||Brian Carroll||Midfielder||Philadelphia Union||90||960||D.C. United|
|15||Darlington Nagbe*||Midfielder||Portland Timbers||90||956||Toronto FC|
|16||Chris Pontius||Forward||D.C. United||90||945||Philadelphia Union|
|17||Eddie Johnson||Forward||Seattle Sounders||90||928||Vancouver|
|18||Eric Hassli||Forward||Toronto FC||80||922||Portland Timbers|
|19||Bill Hamid||Goalkeeper||D.C. United||90||915||Philadelphia Union|
|20||Bright Dike||Forward||Portland Timbers||73||848||NY Red Bulls|
*Makes list twice based on team's two games in Week 24