Team of the Week (Wk 30): Cream rises to the top
It was a weekend for attackers, as we could very easily have made this a “Best XI offensive performances” from the slate of games. And it was some of the usual suspects who provided most of the fireworks, including a hat-trick in Carson, a hat-trick of assists (and a golazo) in Harrison and a statement game in Kansas City.
By the time the smoke cleared, the Supporters’ Shield race was back on, another Eastern Conference team had been eliminated from postseason contention and the battle for the fifth spot in the Western Conference was still status quo.
GK: Bill Hamid (D.C. United) – Lost in the night’s controversy was the youngster’s stand-out performance. Hamid didn’t get the shutout this time, but he’s a big reason why United got the point.
DF: David Horst (Portland Timbers) – Whatever you make of the penalty call, there’s no question Horst put in a stellar effort in shutting down D.C.’s attack from the run of play. Perhaps his best game of the season.
DF: Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders) – Parke was the key man on the Seattle backline in their shutout at Vancouver. He still has the wheels to keep up with younger attackers, often making up for the mistakes of others.
DF: Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Same could easily be said of DeMerit, who’s made a habit of playing emergency defense over the past couple of months. He was at his best against Seattle, keeping the ‘Caps in control of their own destiny.
MF: Lloyd Sam (New York Red Bulls) – “Classy” and “precise” were the words Hans Backe used to describe Sam’s play against Toronto FC, and it’s hard to disagree. He made RBNY more dangerous both with and without the ball.
MF: Gershon Koffie (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Koffie was once again a mountain in the middle of the pitch for Vancouver as he helped unplug Seattle’s “power quartet.” He goes from defense to offense as well as almost any central midfielder in the league.
MF: Graham Zusi (Sporting KC) – Performances like the one he had against Chicago are how legends are made – it simply doesn’t get any better than that in a huge game. The move to the flank has paid dividends for both him and the team.
MF: Marcelo Sarvas (LA Galaxy) – Had a Goal of the Week contender, and just as importantly won a boatload of second balls as LA struggled in the second half. Has been a rock in the middle over the past 10 weeks.
FW: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) – Players of his caliber have to feast on bad teams, and that’s exactly what he did with his goal and three assists. Kenny Cooper should tithe 10 percent of his paycheck to Titi this week.
FW: Steven Lenhart (San Jose Earthquakes) – His “drop the mic” non-celebration on his second game-tying goal was one to really enjoy, a real page out of Cantona’s book. And his first equalizer was a thing of pure beauty.
FW: Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake) – Like Henry, we expect Sabo to feast on bad teams, and that’s what he did. RSL will hope it’s a sign of things to come, because when he’s playing like that they’re nearly impossible to beat.
Manager: Gavin Wilkinson (Portland Timbers) – Yeah, they’ve run short on luck this year, but they’re also very clearly building a strong attacking core for next season. Lots of reasons to be positive in Portland now despite a run of frustrating – if not necessarily disappointing – results.
Honorable Mentions: Jairo Arrieta (Columbus), Marvin Chávez (SJ), Ricardo Clark (Houston), Kenny Cooper (NY Red Bulls), Brad Davis (Houston), Bright Dike (Portland), Fabián Espíndola (Real Salt Lake), David Ferreira (FC Dallas), Boniek García (Houston), Alan Gordon (SJ), Federico Higuaín (Columbus), Jackson (FC Dallas), Kei Kamara (Sporting KC), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Brad Knighton (Vancouver), Justin Morrow (SJ), Blas Pérez (FC Dallas), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Shea Salinas (SJ), Josh Saunders (LA Galaxy), Matt Watson (Vancouver)