MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week: Week 23

Chara on for 1st time; Jewsbury & Perlaza honorable mentions

It will come as a surprise to some that the New England Revolution have more players than any MLS club among the Team of the Week selections for Week 23. After all, the team is tied for last place in the East with 23 points and is coming off two draws last week in which they conceded equalizers at the very end. But the performances by Matt Reis, Benny Feilhaber and Milton Caraglio were compelling.

Caraglio wasn't the only DP celebrated in the weekly Best XI, which also features Portland's big money midfielder Diego Chara. Timbers rivals the Seattle Sounders are recognized for their defense, Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell for his offense and Sporting KC's Graham Zusi for a showing that also earned him Player of the Week honors.

GK: Matt Reis (New England Revolution) — The red card notwithstanding, he put up the single best performance by a goalkeeper during the week against Houston.

DF: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Seattle Sounders)  Whatever FC Dallas sent his way — and they put forth a major offensive — he sent it right back at them.

DF: Julius James (Columbus Crew)  A second straight Team of the Week showing by the Trinidadian, who has played at a level equal to stalwart Chad Marshall. And people wonder why the Crew are in first place?

DF: Bobby Boswell (Houston Dynamo)  He wasn’t too shabby on the defensive end, but a goal in two different matches put him over the top.

DF: Leo González (Seattle Sounders)  Seattle manager Sigi Schmid devised a plan to contain FC Dallas wingers Brek Shea and Marvin Chávez. González was a big reason that plan worked. Chávez was a non-factor.

MF: Diego Chara (Portland Timbers)  The Colombian was more active in attack than at any time in recent memory and it produced great results vs. Vancouver. That’s exactly what fans expect from a DP. First Team of the Week mention for him.

MF: Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)  Slowly becoming the most influential player for Sporting, he pulled the strings for his team with great authority and personality as they secured two wins and second place in the East. The USMNT is only a matter of time.

MF: Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution)  The Revolution could have had two victories this past week against playoff teams if not for last-minute goals. Feilhaber marshaled the resurgence, covering the entire field in both matches.

MF: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo)  When the left-footed David Beckham takes over a match, there is little the opposition can do. He single-handedly shifted the momentum for Houston in the dramatic 3-2 win over RSL.

FW: Milton Caraglio (New England Revolution)  Starting to shed question marks about his injury history with two well-taken goals against New York.

FW: Dane Richards (NewYork Red Bulls)  Similar to what happened last year, the Jamaican is showcasing his best soccer post-All-Star Game. He saved the Red Bulls from embarrassment at Gillette Stadium, earning a second straight nod to the Team of the Week.

Manager: Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City)  His team has come a long way and, by earning a maximum six points from two matches this week, Sporting are now making a run at the Eastern title. Vermes has handed the reins of his side to Zusi and he has also set the tone for his team’s aggressive starts by surprisingly fielding all of his potent attacking arsenal in the 1-0 win over D.C. United.

Honorable Mentions: Darrius Barnes (New England Revolution), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Fabián Espíndola (Real Salt Lake), Dan Gargan (Chicago Fire), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), William Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Dejan Jakovic (D.C. United), Jack Jewsbury (Portland Timbers), Nick LaBrocca (Chivas USA), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City), Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders), Jorge Perlaza (Portland Timbers), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Zach Scott (Seattle Sounders), Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City), Ricardo Villar (FC Dallas)

SEE THE FULL RECAP OF 2011 TEAM OF THE WEEK MENTIONS