Team of the Week (Wk 25): Attacking players light up MLS
After a scarcity of goals in the past week, MLS' goalscorers came alive once more in Week 25, mostly notably in a goal-filled Saturday slate of games.
Six of the week's honorees enjoyed multi-goal showings, while another pair picked up multiple assists in Saturday romps. There was, however, room for a few defensive standouts, most notably from Sunday's LA-Dallas game, which saw excellent showings from both teams' backlines, save for one or two gaffes.
Lastly, Portland picked up an important first win since John Spencer's departure, an effort that both on the field and the sideline did not go unrecognized in this week's selection.
GK: Donovan Ricketts (Portland Timbers) – A big performance from the Jamaican shot-stopper, who made seven saves in Portland’s much-needed 2-1 win over Vancouver, including a good late stop on Barry Robson.
DF: George John (FC Dallas) – Made a number of big plays in his effort to keep LA off the scoresheet and looked excellent throughout the game despite Dallas’ eventual 2-0 loss.
DF: A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy) – On the other end, did an excellent job snuffing out Jackson and later Blas Pérez as Dallas barely got a sniff at goal in LA’s shutout win.
DF: Ramiro Corrales (San Jose Earthquakes) – The MLS original still has some tricks left in his bag as evidenced by his pair of assists in the Quakes’ romp over Colorado, including a clever ball over the top for the fourth and final San Jose goal.
MF: Mauro Rosales (Seattle Sounders) – The man pulling the strings behind Seattle’s 6-2 rout of Chivas USA, Rosales recorded three assists, keeping up his scintillating recent form.
MF: Federico Higuaín (Columbus Crew) – The Argentine schemer has been an instant hit in MLS and won a deserved Player of the Week award after guiding the Crew to two wins. Picked up a goal and assist in a midweek win over Toronto FC and scored two stunning free kicks in a wild 4-3 victory against New England.
MF: Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact) – The veteran has established himself as a top-tier two-way midfielder and added to his impressive MLS resume with a pair of goals and an assist on Marco Di Vaio’s opener in Montreal’s fifth straight win.
MF: Simon Dawkins (San Jose Earthquakes) – His killer instinct and clever play have given the Earthquakes yet another attacking threat, and he was at his best with two well-taken goals against Colorado.
FW: Jairo Arrieta (Columbus Crew) – Continued to key the Crew’s offensive revival alongside Higuaín. Set up the Argentine’s winner in the midweek win over Toronto and scored a pair of goals in Saturday’s win against New England.
FW: Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes) – Has stepped up in a huge way during Chris Wondolowski’s slump and showed some versatility with a great assist on Simon Dawkins’ opener against Colorado before scoring twice himself.
FW: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders FC) – Put on perhaps his best performance to date in a Sounders jersey, logging a magnificent hat trick against an admittedly wretched Chivas defense, added an assist and set up a late own-goal to boot.
Coach: Gavin Wilkinson (Portland Timbers) – Responded to the critics by coaching his team to a huge win over Vancouver that put Portland in the pole position for the Cascadia Cup. Should also receive some credit for the strong recent performances of his attacking players, notably Darlington Nagbe, Bright Dike and Sal Zizzo.
Honorable Mention: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Jair Benítez (FC Dallas), Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Tristan Bowen (Chivas USA), Wilman Conde (New York Red Bulls), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Marco Di Vaio (Montreal Impact), Bright Dike (Portland Timbers), Terry Dunfield (Toronto FC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Michael Farfan (Philadelphia Union), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution), Matteo Ferrari (Montreal Impact), Raymon Gaddis (Philadelphia Union), Boniek García (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Juninho (LA Galaxy), Kei Kamara (Sporting KC), Felipe Martins (Montreal Impact), Milovan Mirosevic (Columbus Crew), Paulo Nagamura (Sporting KC), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Christian Tiffert (Seattle Sounders), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy)