NEW YORK — The cream rises to the top. That's the story of the Week 16 edition of the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week.
Except for the first-timers from Sporting Kansas City, every other player named has been here before. Tally Hall earns a season-high third call among goalkeepers, the FC Dallas duo of Jackson and Brek Shea were at it again and Nick LaBrocca and Joel Lindpere hit the hat trick of Team of the Week mentions.
GK: Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo) – It was a home match against Colorado earlier this year in which Hall’s run of positive form came to an end. It was fitting that he looked to get back on track against Colorado in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with several big saves.
DF: Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union) – He was still running up and down the field late in the match vs. D.C. United, taking advantage of a mismatch to serve the cross for the equalizer at RFK. One of the most attack-minded right backs in the league who is just as effective defending — none of the DC goals came from his flank.
DF: Marvell Wynne (Colorado Rapids) – On a team with the likes of star forwards Omar Cummings and Conor Casey, the work of a player like Wynne often goes overlooked. Against the Houston Dynamo he was dominant, and against the big bruising Dynamo forwards that says a lot.
DF: Chance Myers (Sporting Kansas City) – He challenges Sheanon Williams for the title of most dynamic right back this weekend. When it looked like he would perhaps switch back to forward earlier this season, he has cemented a fullback spot which has coincided with Sporting’s revival.
MF: Jackson (FC Dallas) – When you’re hot, you’re hot. But the Brazilian is not only in a good form, he is also brimming with confidence as proven by the danger he creates with his runs into the box.
MF: Nick LaBrocca (Chivas USA) – His teammates believe he should be an All-Star. A midfielder, who has always been known as one of the most underrated in the league, has now emerged as a team leader for the Goats. The big change? His take-charge, aggressive attitude, including an ability to fire shots from anywhere on the field.
MF: Joel Lindpere (New York Red Bulls) – Speaking of aggressive and take-charge. He calls out his teammates and then proceeds to score two goals against San Jose. The no-nonsense Estonian may be recognized for his hustle and tireless engine. But his technique is often overlooked. Both goals at Stanford Stadium were world-class finishes.
MF: Brek Shea (FC Dallas) – Possibly the best player on what is arguably the best team in the league today. Another player with an infectious energy to his game and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
FW: Dominic Oduro (Chicago Fire) – It’s the story of Oduro’s life. He scores a well-taken goal but the talk after the match is about the chances he created and missed in the first half. Are forwards supposed to operate at an 80 to 90 percent efficiency clip? Cut him some slack — he is a one-of-a-kind forward in this league and is showing it with the Fire.
FW: Steven Lenhart (San Jose Earthquakes) – He’s now become a protagonist on a weekly basis for San Jose. While his work with the Crew often resulted in scoring opportunities for the Columbus midfielders, he’s the focal point of the attack in San Jose and the trade that brought him to the Quakes is looking like a pretty shrewd one by now.
FW: C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City) – It helps to have the confidence of your manager, but the No. 10 overall draft pick is also showing why he’s earned it. He’s a multidimensional forward who can get the job done in many different facets of the game: back to goal, in the box, in the air and with his dribbling skills. Add another goal and assist to his Rookie of the Year candidature.
Manager: Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City) – This year’s was a Sporting Kansas City team that was supposed to build its fortunes around the names Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara, Davy Arnaud, Craig Rocastle, Stéphane Auvray and Ryan Smith. Only halfway into the 2011 season, Vermes has moved his club in another direction. Unafraid to start rookie C.J. Sapong over the USMNT’s Bunbury, Sporting’s turnaround has instead been authored by eternal prospects Graham Zusi, Chance Myers and Matt Besler. Vermes’ flexibility should be lauded as well as his vision to move defenders Júlio César and Roger Espinoza into central midfield.
Honorable Mentions: Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas), Will Johnson (Real Salt Lake), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Brian Perk (LA Galaxy), Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)