Team of the Week (Wk 9): Portland's Darlington Nagbe features in this week's squad
In the battle for Eastern Conference supremacy, two national-team players led Sporting Kansas City over the Columbus Crew. Graham Zusi and Matt Besler showed yet again why they will be on the plane to Brazil.
The sweltering heat of Dallas was not enough to keep Luis Robles from putting his name on another Team of the Week. The Goalkeeper of the Year front-runner saved his first penalty of the season, keeping his team level before the Red Bulls were able to put one on the scoresheet against a 10-man FC Dallas squad.
Who else earned a spot on the latest Team of the Week? Read on to find out.
GK: Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls) – Had a huge save on the Pérez penalty kick and made several other big plays to keep Dallas from taking the lead.
D: Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids) – Cleared a ball off the line in the opening minutes of the game and was part of the Colorado defense that did not concede to LA's high-powered attack.
D: Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders) – Time and again, the veteran got in the way of Union chances, blocking a number of shots. Then scored the game-winner.
D: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) – The captain showed why he will be counted on by Jurgen Klinsmann in Brazil.
D: Jair Benitez (FC Dallas) – The veteran left back was a main reason why New York were unable to score for over 60 minutes despite being up a man.
M: Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) – His passes were pinpoint against Columbus, assisting on one goal but creating many more quality chances.
M: Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Set the tone early with two shots from distance, then scored a PK and another shot from the same spot he had previously missed. Also displayed good control of the midfield, spreading passes around.
M: Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution) – The Revs playmaker was inspired on the day with his passing, his dribbling and often chasing back to defend. Then converted a penalty in the clutch. The Revs go as he goes.
M: Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) – His creativity was on display on Saturday night, creating six chances in all. Withness the early steal above that leads to Gastón Fernández's goal :34 seconds into the match
F: Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo) – Ran roughshod on Chivas’ defense and put in the effort on the defensive end to go with his two goals. He looks like a man on a mission in 2014.
F: Joao Plata (Real Salt Lake) – Looks like he’s putting his considerable potential to work, as he started and finished what looked like an unlikely comeback for Real Salt Lake on the road.
Coach: Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids) – More shifting and shuffling in lineup -- Chris Klute at right back as one example -- and he comes away with another big result.
Bench: Eric Kronberg (Sporting Kansas City), Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders), Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo), Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver Whitecaps), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers), Patrick Mullins (New England Revolution)