It was an up-and-down week for more than a handful of MLS sides in Week 21. LA and RSL lost on Wednesday then rebounded strongly on the weekend, while Sporting KC went in reverse, winning in midweek and then collapsing late to Seattle on Saturday.
But it was generally all up for John Spencer's Portland Timbers, who thrashed the Galaxy last Wednesday then went on the road to earn a point from fellow Western Conference mid-tablers San Jose. Which explains why they have three players on the latest Team of the Week from MLSsoccer.com.
GK – Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA): His quiet night exploded in the final 15 minutes, when he pulled off two world-class saves to preserve the Goats’ win at New England.
DF – Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake): It wasn’t his goal that impressed, but the way he dominated defensively as RSL thumped the Red Bulls.
DF – Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy): The big center back rebounded from the midweek loss with a clean, efficient display against FCD. And he added a goal for good measure.
DF – Mike Chabala (Portland Timbers): The outside back held his own against Landon & Co. and then helped neutralize Wondo. Oh, and he added a goal of his own. Not too shabby.
MF – Mauro Rosales (Seattle Sounders): Skill, determination, and fitness — the Argentine put all three to stunning use to score and set up another in Seattle’s late miracle in Kansas City.
MF – David Beckham (LA Galaxy): All he does is serve in dangerous balls. Which for a side as efficient and deadly as the 2011 Galaxy, that's all he needs to do.
MF – Nick LaBrocca (Chivas USA): The surprise of the season kept a-rollin’ with a goal and an assist in a big road win for the Goats, who are actually now in playoff position.
MF – Brian Mullan (Colorado Rapids): The right midfielder hit a rocket of a goal, but more than that, he finally looked like the Mullan of old, getting up and down the flank tirelessly.
FW – Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United): A hat trick — goals No. 4, 5, and 6 in the six games since he joined United — were enough for well-deserved Player of the Week honors, but not enough for a DC win.
FW – Eric Hassli (Vancouver Whitecaps): Give the Frenchman an opening and he’ll punish you for it, like he did twice in the Caps’ win over Chicago. Though he did miss a penalty.
FW – Jorge Perlaza (Portland Timbers): A four-point week for the feisty Timbers was powered by the Colombian striker’s industry and production (one goal, one assist).
Manager – John Spencer (Portland Timbers): The Scot coaxed out his side’s best performance against the league’s best team, LA. Then got a point on the road against a fellow playoff hopeful in San Jose.
Honorable mentions: Alejandro Moreno (Chivas USA), Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), (Colorado Rapids), Kei Kamara (Sporting KC), Camilo (Vancouver Whitecaps), Marvell Wynne (Colorado Rapids), Bruce Arena (manager, LA Galaxy), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake)