Team of the Week (Wk 6): Portland Timbers, Chicago Fire rewarded after first wins
The Chicago Fire and Portland Timbers finally got the monkey off their backs this past weekend, and in emphatic fashion. Both teams topped their opponents by two-goal margins, which in turn allowed them to place two players apiece in the team of the week.
Another pair of players made big waves this weekend, too, though it might not be the players you thought would be starring for their respective teams. Nonetheless, for a certain upstart goalkeeper and an FC Dallas midfielder who's all of a sudden getting the goals, their performances were enough to earn a second consecutive nod in the Team of the Week.
Who were these well-deserving players? Read on to learn what set them and the rest of the week's Best XI apart...
WATCH: Irwin stops Saborio penalty
GK: Clint Irwin (Colorado Rapids) – The 23-year-old continues to wow, and earned his second straight team of the week nod after a strong display in Colorado's 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake, capped off by his penalty stop on Álvaro Saborío.
DF: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) – The 2012 MLS Defender of the Year was his usual solid self as he helped lead the Sporting backline to a shutout win over D.C. United and looked very comfortable building out of the back.
MF: Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) – Was absolutely masterful in Portland's 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo, pulling all the strings in midfield, winning balls, and providing the assist on Ryan Johnson's second goal.
MF: Daniel Paladini (Chicago Fire) – The goal and two assists speak to his comfort level on the right side, and he played a soild game on both sides of the ball as he led Chicago to a 3-1 win over the Red Bulls.
MF: Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas) – A second consecutive Team of the Week honoree, this time for his performance in FCD's 2-2 draw at Toronto FC. Though Dallas eventually dropped their two-goal lead, Jacobson was a force at both ends of the field and did well to open the scoring.
FW: Claudio Bieler (Sporting Kansas City) – For all of the misgivings about Sporting's finishing, Bieler himself has amassed four goals in SKC's first six games, including a deft finish late in the game to hand his team a 1-0 win against D.C. United and vault them to second in the Eastern Conference.
FW: Maicon Santos (Chicago Fire) – Not immediately effective in his appearance as a second-half sub, but certainly made his mark late on, scoring twice to decide the Eastern Conference clash between Chicago and New York.
GOAL: Ryan Johnson goes upper 90
FW: Ryan Johnson (Portland Timbers) – Put in the center forward performance Timbers fans have been waiting for, mixing it up in front and bagging two solid finishes in Portland's first win of the season.
Coach: Caleb Porter (Portland Timbers) – His team was on point against Houston on Saturday night and Porter did very well to keep his charges focused on playing well after both David Horst and Diego Valeri went down from injury. Oh yeah, and the Nagbe in a free role experiment was a nice touch.
Bench: Joe Cannon (Vancouver Whitecaps), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Ben Speas (Columbus Crew), Jackson (FC Dallas), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Dominic Oduro (Columbus Crew)