Team of the Week (Wk 24): Midfielders take the reins
It wasn't a great week for forwards in MLS, but don't mistake that blip in the radar to mean there was a lack of offense. The men in the middle of the park rose to the occasion over the last few days, putting in complete efforts on both sides of the ball.
This week's five honorees totaled four goals and seven assists between them, and even the two honorees up top – who totaled another three goals over the course of the week – could be considered a winger and trequartista.
Who else made this week's selection? Read on to find out...
GK: Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas) – Backed up David Ferreira’s offensive exploits with a clean sheet in Vancouver at midweek and a some great saves in a 2-1 win RSL on the weekend, guaranteeing six crucial points.
DF: Jan Gunnar Solli (New York Red Bulls) – The soundest defender in an otherwise flimsy New York backline, chipped in two assists on a pair of beautiful crosses in the Red Bulls’ 3-2 comeback win over Portland.
DF: Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew) – Ever the rock at the heart of the Crew defense, Marshall did an excellent job in helping contain two potent teams in the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo as Columbus picked up a pair of draws in an emotional week.
DF: Carlos Valdés (Philadelphia Union) –Did an excellent job containing D.C. United in a 1-1 road draw, could perhaps count himself unfortunate not to have picked up a clean sheet for his efforts.
WATCH: Zizzo feeds Dike
MF: Sal Zizzo (Portland Timbers) – A lightning rod for the Timbers down the right flank on their two-game East Coast swing. Scored the opener in Portland’s eventual 2-2 draw with Toronto and was unfortunate to be on the losing end after racking up two assists in a 3-2 loss to New York.
MF: Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact) – One of the steadiest players in the league was at it again on Saturday evening, pacing the Impact to a 3-1 win over league-leading San Jose. Set up Lamar Neagle’s winner and added an insurance tally from the penalty spot.
MF: David Ferreira (FC Dallas) – It’s no coincidence that FC Dallas are all of a sudden playoff contenders now that Ferreira is fit and firing on all cylinders. Set up both goals in a win at Vancouver and stole the show in Salt Lake, assisting the opener and scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory.
MF: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders) – A monster at the center of the park in Seattle’s 2-0 win over Vancouver. Stifled the ‘Caps at every turn and set up his team’s second goal.
MF: Lamar Neagle (Montreal Impact) – Tormented San Jose with his quickness and willingness to attack and scored a beautiful game-winner to boot.
FW: Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire) – A menace every time he touched the ball in Chicago’s 2-1 win over New England. Earned and converted a penalty kick to open the scoring.
FW: Fabián Castillo (FC Dallas) – Ferreira’s partner in crime throughout the week, scored the opener in both Dallas wins.
Coach: Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas) – Having David Ferreira helps, but Hyndman has done so much to improve the fortunes of his side over the past week. Brek Shea looks to be putting his troubles in the rearview mirror and the team is getting contributions not just from Ferreira, but all throughout the roster.
Honorable Mention: Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Jairo Arrieta (Columbus Crew), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Simon Dawkins (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick DeLeon (D.C. United), Torsten Frings (Toronto FC), Boniek García (Houston Dynamo), Bill Gaudette (New York Red Bulls), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Eric Hassli (Toronto FC), Federico Higuaín (Columbus Crew), Kei Kamara (Sporting Kansas City), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Felipe Martins (Montreal Impact), Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders), Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake), Brian Mullan (Colorado Rapids), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Patrick Nyarko (Chicago Fire), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Matt Reis (New England Revolution), Franck Songo'o (Portland Timbers), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)