Team of the Week (Wk 15): Shortened week of action, but no shortage of star performers
It may have been a short week of MLS action, with just four games over the weekend plus one last Wednesday, but there was no shortage of star performers on show despite numerous absences due to World Cup qualifying.
The biggest fireworks were to be found in Seattle, where the Sounders mounted an impressive comeback against a Vancouver team starting to find its legs, so it's no surprise that an attacker from each side found their way into the team of the week.
Of course, there were also plenty of goals in Salt Lake and Chicago, where RSL put on another impressive showing to top the faltering LA Galaxy, and Chicago staged a fierce rally to draw with the Portland Timbers. Lastly, let's not forget the midweek game, where Philadelphia took advantage of a first-half flurry of goals to top the Crew 3-0, landing them two selections in this week's best XI.
Who else earned top honors this week? Read on to find out...
GK: Bill Hamid (D.C. United) – The Gold Cup hopeful certainly got himself noticed on Saturday evening, making four good saves, including a pair of late stops to help D.C. leave New England with a morale-boosting road point.
DF: Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union) – Had a great run and finish off a corner for the second goal of the Union's midweek victory over Columbus and put in a very strong defensive shift, to boot.
DF: Stephen McCarthy (New England Revolution) – On the opposite end of the field from Hamid, the Revs defender was at the top of his game in his team's scoreless draw against D.C., making some key stops, reading the game well and comfortably distributing the ball.
DF: Chris Tierney (New England Revolution) – Another defensive standout on a team loaded with attacking talent. The Revs left back was a rock on the left flank and was effective going forward.
MF: Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers) – He had a beautiful goal, but that only tells part of the story of Valeri's game in Portland's 2-2 draw with Chicago. His crisp play in the midfield makes everyone around him better, a fact that was evident as Portland faded once he left the field.
MF: Brian Carroll (Philadelphia Union) – Played as good a game as any he's played in a Union jersey in their 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew. Scored the opener, set up the second and bossed the midfield throughout the game against his former team.
MF: Alex (Chicago Fire) – Showed once again in Chicago's comeback draw with Portland why he should keep his starting spot in Frank Klopas' midfield. Excellent in possession, served as a release valve in the face of Portland's typical heavy pressure and sent a delightful through ball to Mike Magee that led to his goal.
MF: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake) – Continued his return to form with another sharp display at the point of RSL's midfield, setting up both of Olmes Garcia's goals as RSL pulled away from LA late on in their Western Conference clash.
FW: Camilo (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Throw away the inconsistency issues for a second. When the guy is on, he's on, as was the case in Saturday night's loss to the Seattle Sounders, where the Brazilian tallied both his team's goals and provided some dangerous set piece service.
FW: Olmes Garcia (Real Salt Lake) – If you haven't been keeping an eye on this kid, you should be now. The 20-year-old Colombian made another case for his breakout star status with a pair of well-taken late goals to lift Real Salt Lake to a 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy.
FW: Lamar Neagle (Seattle Sounders) – Left no doubt after Seattle's 3-2 win over Vancouver that he's the team MVP thus far in 2013 after a one-goal, one-assist, one drawn PK performance. Amidst a slew of international absences and injuries, Neagle's consistency has been key in helping Seattle rebound from tough situations, as they did Saturday night.
Coach: Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake) – Though RSL were a bit light in attack to start off their encounter with the LA Galaxy, the MLS Cup-winning coach reacted well to his team's situation, inserting Devon Sandoval and Olmes Garcia to give the team a little more punch going forward, in turn allowing them to pull away for another big home win.
Bench: Milos Kocic (Portland Timbers), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders), Nigel Reo-Coker (Vancouver Whitecaps), Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union), Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy)