The stars were out in Week 8 and though the goalscoring was feast or famine (all but two games had two or fewer goals, but the other two featured five each), the 10 matches over the course of the week provided ample opportunities for some of the league's established and rising stars to show why they deserve their billing.
In Southern California, we saw the return to form of an MLS legend, while some of the league's best center backs – two plenty experienced and one in just his second season – showed in Chicago, Dallas and New York why opposing strikers will fear them for years to come.
Up front, Week 8 saw the continued rise of one of the brightest young forwards to come into the league in recent years. He takes his place next to a grizzled veteran who continues to do the dirty work while contributing the occasional goal.
Who else made the cut this week? Read on to find out...
SAVE: Rimando stops Mejia PK
GK: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) – Made five good stops in RSL's 1-0 win over Chivas USA, none more important than his first-half penalty save on Edgar Mejía to keep the score at 0-0 and lay the foundation for his team's win.
DF: Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) – Dominant in the air both from the run of play and on set pieces, not to mention the attacking flick-on that allowed Jeff Larentowicz to net the game-winner in the Fire's 1-0 triumph over Columbus.
DF: George John (FC Dallas) – While Dallas dominated the Whitecaps in their 2-0 home win over the weekend, they still needed that bit of defensive stability to keep things tight on their own end, and John did just that while even helping to set up Dallas' opener.
DF: Aurélien Collin (Sporting KC) – Phenomenal in Sporting's 1-0 midweek win over the Red Bulls, where he not only scored the lone goal, but dominated in the air and kept Jimmy Nielsen from having to do too much work on the night. Put in another solid performance against LA, showing great hustle even as a jam-packed travel schedule caught up to him and his team.
MF: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) – "Don't count the old man out yet," Donovan said after his one-goal, one-assist performance in LA's 2-0 win over Sporting KC. Was absolutely lethal on the break and gave a tired Sporting team no respite.
MF: Jeremy Hall (Toronto FC) – Held his own as a defensive midfielder going up against the imposing Houston Dynamo duo of Adam Moffat and Ricardo Clark. Helped pace the Reds in possession and break up attacks, not to mention his strike that was so nearly the game-winner for TFC in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw.
GOAL: McCarty opens the scoring
MF: Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls) – Just keeps on ticking in the center of the New York midfield. Turned in two more bustling performances this week, making life difficult for his opponents on defense, distributing well and scoring a fine goal to open the floodgates in the 4-1 win over New England.
MF: Marcelo Sarvas (LA Galaxy) – There was controversy surrounding his goal, but that shouldn't take away from his otherwise brilliant night, where he excelled on both sides of the ball and keep Sporting on their heels throughout the match.
MF: David Ferreira (FC Dallas) – At his irrepressible best in Dallas' win over Vancouver. You won't see his name on the scoresheet, but Ferreira pulled all the strings in midfield, made a number of key passes and was effective in his passing in Vancouver's half of the field.
FW: Fabián Espíndola (New York Red Bulls) – Showed well in both his games this week – still managed to make his technique and speed noticed in a drab loss to Sporting before breaking out in the Red Bulls' win over New England, where he netted the team's second goal of the match and was a force up front for his 82 minutes on the field.
GOAL: Jack Mac's great run and finish
FW: Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union) – The Philly starlet stayed red-hot to start the season and showed a great instincts on both his goals in Philly's 3-2 win in the nation's capital. He now tops the Golden Boot charts and there's no reason to think he's done yet.
Coach: Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas) – The transition to 4-2-3-1 has well and truly worked for Hyndman's team, and the weekend's 2-0 win over Vancouver was perhaps its best iteration so far. FCD nearly ran Vancouver off the field, and Hyndman deserves a good deal of credit for getting his team humming.
Bench: Andy Gruenebaum (Columbus Crew), Mamadou "Futty" Danso (Portland Timbers), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Brian Mullan (Colorado Rapids), Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake), Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders)