This weekend we saw many of MLS' established stars doing what they do best – from fantastic free kicks to dominant defensive performances and clutch goals, we saw plenty of players live up to their reputation and show why they are among the best players in the league.
However, we also caught a glimpse of the younger players who could one day step up and fill the shoes of their veteran counterparts. There were plenty of rookies and newcomers who put forth commendable performances, signaling to the league that they could be here to stay.
GK: Ryan Meara (New York Red Bulls) – The rookie goalkeeper is for real. Two solid performances, including a shutout vs. the Dynamo and a number of good, timely saves to lock down New York’s 3-2 victory in Philadelphia.
DF: Andre Hainault (Houston Dynamo) – Alongside Geoff Cameron, Hainault clamped down on a previously rampant D.C. United attack, which proved especially important given the Dynamo defense’s previous struggles and the magnitude of the occasion. Also picked up an assist.
DF: Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake) – The heart of an RSL defense that shut out both Chicago and Seattle on the road, and perhaps most impressively kept Seattle from registering a single shot on goal in their own stadium.
DF: Heath Pearce (Chivas USA) – Central to a Chivas defense that kept Chris Wondolowski and company off the board for 88 minutes in San Jose. There was little he could do on the Quakes goal after John Valencia lost his mark on Alan Gordon.
MF: Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution) – Nguyen played down his only encounter of the year against the team that waived him, and instead let his work on the field do the talking, racking up two goals and an assist.
MF: David Beckham (LA Galaxy) – The Galaxy’s most active player in a listless first-half performance against Montreal. He later scored a peach of a free kick to give LA a share of the points in front of a record-setting crowd at Olympic Stadium.
MF: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) – Exceptional effort battling in midfield over 180 minutes to help key two RSL shutouts.
MF: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) – Scored a goal befitting the Dynamo’s beautiful stadium with a long-range effort in the team's 1-0 win over D.C. United. One of Houston’s most influential players in the midweek loss to New York.
FW: Kenny Cooper (New York Red Bulls) – A game-winner in each of the Red Bulls’ two games this week put New York top of the Eastern Conference. Has stepped up admirably in Thierry Henry’s absence.
FW: Lionard Pajoy (Philadelphia Union) – His two-goal output, including a tricky finish for his second, provided plenty for Philly fans to be happy about despite their 3-2 loss to RBNY. The play around him improved as well, but he thrived on it.
FW: Saer Sene (New England Revolution) – This guy could be the real deal up top for the Revs. Lively performance in 4-1 rout of the Vancouver Whitecaps rewarded with a goal that stood up as the game-winner.
Coach: Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake) – Led his team to four points and two shutouts from two road games – including one in Seattle – despite having his fair share of injuries to deal with.
Honorable Mention: Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Bobby Convey (Sporting Kansas City), José Erik Correa (Chivas USA), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution) Matteo Ferrari (Montreal Impact), Sam Garza (San Jose Earthquakes), Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes), Sebastián Grazzini (Chicago Fire), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Felipe Martins (Montreal Impact), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls) Brandon McDonald (D.C. United), Justin Meram (Columbus Crew), Sebastian Miranda (Columbus Crew), Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders), Dominc Oduro (Chicago Fire), Jámison Olave (Real Salt Lake), Chris Schuler (Real Salt Lake)