It's almost mid-August all of a sudden, and the playoff race is starting to take shape. The Seattle Sounders made a huge statement of their intentions by routing the LA Galaxy 4-0 on Sunday, with two players earning a spot on this week's Best XI.
Meanwhile, Houston grabbed a share of the Eastern Conference lead, spurred on by their talisman, while Montreal kept up an improbable push thanks especially to one regular contributors and one recent high-profile arrival.
Lastly, two of the players selected not only helped their teams in the playoff race, but cemented their places as frontrunners for the Comeback Player of the Year award. Who were they? Read on to find out...
GK: Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas) – A vintage display from the veteran ‘keeper. Made six saves to keep Dallas in their match at Portland despite going down a man.
DF: Alessandro Nesta (Montreal Impact) – The renowned Italian stopper made an near-instant impact in Montreal colors, showing his class and ability in thwarting the in-form Philadelphia Union.
DF: Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) – The rookie’s excellent season continued in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Toronto, with the Louisville product heading home the winner and providing a bright spot in an occasionally shaky backline.
DF: Emiliano Dudar (D.C. United) – Put in a complete 90 minutes in D.C.’s 1-0 win over Columbus, snuffing out reigning Player of the Week Jairo Arrieta and playing assuredly out of the back.
MF: Mauro Rosales (Seattle Sounders) – Ran riot down the right side in Seattle’s 4-0 thumping of LA, setting up Eddie Johnson’s opener and Andy Rose’s final goal.
MF: Joseph Nane (Colorado Rapids) – Scored, struck the woodwork and put in a gritty showing as Colorado ground out a 1-0 win over rivals Real Salt Lake.
MF: Felipe Martins (Montreal Impact) – His scissor kick goal was something to behold and he was the focal point for Montreal’s attack for much of their win over Philadelphia.
MF: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) – The midfielder maestro has looked at home in Houston’s 4-3-3 and proved it by popping up all over the field and holding together the Dynamo midfielder in their 2-0 win over New York.
MF: Chris Pontius (D.C. United) – Scored the lone goal in D.C.'s win over Columbus and caused issues for the Crew defense throughout the match.
FW: Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders) – Another head-turning performance from the reborn forward, who scored and helped set up Seattle’s next two goals.
FW: Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids) – An excellent showing from the Jamaican against RSL despite his lack of goals. Buzzed around the entire game, opening up space for the Rapids to operate.
Coach: Sigi Schmid (Seattle Sounders) – Has his team clicking at the right time. Eddie Johnson is in form, Fredy Montero is both scoring and looking like an important cog, and young players like Alex Caskey are coming along nicely. US Open Cup final and trip to San Jose provide him with chance to make two more statements this week.
Honorable Mention: Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Alex Caskey (Seattle Sounders), Jaime Castrillón (Colorado Rapids), Diego Chara (Portland Timbers), Julian de Guzman (FC Dallas), Nick DeLeon (D.C. United), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Jack Jewsbury (Portland Timbers), Macoumba Kandji (Houston Dynamo), Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders), Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC), Patrick Nyarko (Chicago Fire), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo), Chris Tierney (New England Revolution), Luis Zapata (Colorado Rapids)