MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week: Week 22
In a weekend of standout goalkeeper performances, the competition was fierce for
the No. 1 goalkeeper spot on this edition of the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week.
Toronto FC’s Milos Kocic was the ultimate selection, beating out D.C. United’s
Joe Willis and FC Dallas veteran Kevin Hartman.
CONCACAF nations were heavily represented in this week’s best XI, which
includes a former US national-team member, a current one and a forward that
perhaps hopes to make a return.
GK: Milos Kocic (Toronto FC)
– Making his first start of the season, Kocic made four key stops
to preserve the shutout against Real Salt Lake, none more spectacular than his
stoppage-time save on Will Johnson’s flying volley.
DF: Julius James (Columbus Crew) – Solid
performance by the Trinidadian center back, who is turning into the find of the
season for Robert Warzycha. Scored the go-ahead goal against New England to
DF: Heath Pearce (Chivas USA) – Although there was
some good fortune involved, Chivas USA’s road shutout of the Seattle Sounders
was also a result of solid defending and good organization, led by the US
DF: Tyrone Marshall (Colorado Rapids) – Even though
the task was made easier when the Earthquakes were down to 10 men, the
36-year-old Jamaican still registered a fine performance explained by these
numbers: a team-high eight recoveries and five clearances.
MF: Chris Pontius (D.C. United) – It was not even
his most illuminated performance of the season, but his career-high goal total
has now reached seven after a brace against Vancouver earned him Player of the
MF: Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids) – The Rapids
captain was all over the field and in the middle of the two plays that turned
the match at San Jose. His cross led to the penalty kick awarded to Colorado and
a foul he suffered caused the Quakes to be reduced to 10 men.
MF: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders) – Another
inspired performance by the Cuban central midfielder, who was omnipresent in
dominating the match against Chivas USA on both sides of the ball.
MF: Dane Richards (New York Red Bulls) – New York
will be encouraged that they have their right winger back. Although there was
good and bad from the Jamaican against Chicago, he was the Red Bulls’ most
dangerous player, creating havoc every time he touched the ball.
FW: Maicon Santos (FC Dallas) – For a team that has
made do with wingers playing as converted forwards, the Brazilian striker seems
like a godsend, fitting right in with FC Dallas, the best team he’s played on
while in MLS. He provides mobility, passing ability, quick decisions, good
technique and even some speed, all qualities which were on display in
FW: Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United) – Now with his
third club of 2011, the Canadian international has finally found his groove.
After two straight Player of the Week performances, two more assists against
Vancouver extended his positive run of form.
FW: Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo) – In addition to scoring the eventual game-winner against Portland, Ching did an exceptional job
at holding the ball up and getting his teammates involved. Another star who may
be hitting stride just in time after battling injuries earlier this year.
Manager: Aron Winter (Toronto FC) – The switch from
a 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3 against Real Salt Lake was daring whether it worked or not.
After a season of professing his dedication to the Dutch 4-3-3 system, the
first-year manager was open to changing tactics and moving his most valuable
player, Torsten Frings, to the back line from the opening minute. The win
against Real Salt Lake was arguably TFC’s best result of the season and keeps
their playoff hopes alive.
Justin Braun (Chivas USA), Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew), Richard Eckersley
(Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution), Kevin Hartman (FC
Dallas), Sebastién Le Toux (Philadelphia Union), Joel Lindpere (New York Red
Bulls), Brandon McDonald (D.C. United), Brian Mullan (Colorado Rapids), Andy
Najar (D.C. United), Joao Plata (Toronto FC), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew),
Mauro Rosales (Seattle Sounders), A.J. Soares (New England Revolution), Joe
Willis (D.C. United), Daniel Woolard (D.C. United)