Whether it's been late-game heroics, playing a key role in snapping a recent slump, or both, the majority of this week's honorees in the Team of the Week have made the cut for inspiring their teams' comebacks. One forward in particular has made it a fairly regular occurrence, while two other players in this week's selection emerged to lead their teams back from two-goal deficits to earn improbable draws.
In the bigger picture, a pair of midfielders honored have been largely responsible for lifting their team out of the Western Conference cellar, while a defender's breathaking performance in the back keyed an excellent win for a club in transition.
GK: Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire) – An outstanding eight-save performance from the young shot-stopper to preserve his side’s 2-1 win over Columbus and keep them well in the hunt in the Eastern Conference.
DF: Brandon Barklage (New York Red Bulls) – Lit up his former team with two excellent finishes to power the Red Bulls to a 3-2 win over D.C. United.
DF: Jason Hernandez (San Jose Earthquakes) – The best of an outstanding group of Earthquakes defenders, veteran made three vital clearances and put in one of his best performances in a Quakes shirt to key the team’s rise to the top of the Western Conference.
DF: Carlos Valdés (Philadelphia Union) – Everyone played their part in Philadelphia’s impressive win, but Colombian deserves special recognition for his outstanding marshaling of the back line. With Bakary Soumare joining him in the back soon, Philadelphia could have the makings of a very formidable defense.
MF: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) – The Week 16 MLS Player of the Week looked a man possessed, spearheading LA’s resurgence with two goals and an assist in Galaxy’s 3-2 comeback win over RSL before adding another goal and assist in a 3-0 win over Vancouver.
MF: Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution) – Easily the best Revolution player over 90 minutes, orchestrated his team’s dramatic comeback and was denied an equalizer of his own by the woodwork.
MF: Davy Arnaud (Montreal Impact) – The Impact captain was in fine form this week, setting up Felipe’s goal in an eventual loss to Chivas USA before playing an outstanding game in a 4-2 win over Houston, notching a goal and an assist in the process.
MF: Mike Magee (LA Galaxy) – Came up clutch again for the Galaxy, and though he was overshadowed by Donovan, managed a solid contribution in LA’s two wins, notching two goals and an assist over both games.
FW: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo) – The sophomore forward has bounced back in a big way from a disappointing end to his rookie season and now finds himself tied for third with Thierry Henry on the MLS scoring charts after scoring three goals over two games in the past week.
FW: Danny Koevermans (Toronto FC) – Though his team still sits near the bottom of the East, one bit of good news for Reds fans is that Koevermans is finding his goalscoring touch. Hit three goals in Toronto’s pair of draws over the past week.
FW: Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes) – Involved in every single goal during the Quakes’ six-point swing through the Rocky Mountains. His pressure forced an own goal and drew the winning penalty against Colorado, then he scored and assisted in the 2-1 win over RSL.
Coach: John Hackworth (Philadelphia Union) – The turnaround this team has experienced since Hackworth took over manifested itself on Saturday. In addition to giving the team newfound belief, Hackworth’s game plan and subs were on the money.
Honorable Mention: Mehdi Ballouchy (New York Red Bulls), Víctor Bernaádez (San Jose Earthquakes), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Julian de Guzman (Toronto FC), Antoine Hoppenot (Philadelphia Union), David Horst (Portland Timbers), Juninho (LA Galaxy), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Milos Kocic (Toronto FC), Felipe Martins (Montreal Impact), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake), Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes), Patrick Nyarko (Chicago Fire), Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire), Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)