The Houston Dynamo and Philadelphia Union figure prominently in the Week 7 selections for MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week, with statement victories that have them believing they can contend for the top spots in the Eastern Conference.
The best XI from the weekend that was also features two Venezuelan forwards and the Seattle Sounders’ Brad Evans, whose shift to a new position proved a successful experiment.
GK: Stefan Frei (Toronto FC) – The lone bright spot on the TFC side that lost 3-0 to Seattle, the Swiss ‘keeper made a number of big saves that prevented even more blushes on the night for the Reds.
DF: Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo) – He has flourished in his move from winger to left back, and his work rate and speed provided more than enough coverage for playmaker Brad Davis to do his thing against DC.
DF: Carlos Valdés (Philadelphia Union) – The hard Colombian central defender registers another effective performance, neutralizing everything and everyone that came his way from San Jose.
DF: Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union) – The right back commanded his entire flank against San Jose, even when the Earthquakes threw Bobby Convey at him in the second half.
MF: Keon Daniel (Philadelphia Union) – The Trinidadian is not only quick and skillful. He showed poise and composure that has characterized the 2011 Union, especially when they were down a man.
MF: Dwayne De Rosario (New York Red Bulls) – His new manager, Hans Backe, raves about the Canadian as being the missing link in attacking midfield. He is all over the field against Sporting Kansas City and dishes the assist on the game-winning goal.
MF: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) – Fox’s Kyle Martino calls him the left-footed David Beckham, and the match against D.C. United proved why: His timing and accuracy on his deliveries were lethal.
MF: Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders) – The move to the right flank against Toronto FC unleashed the attacking side of Evans and he exploded for an assist and two goals in a position in which he is sure to get another look.
FW: Alejandro Moreno (Chivas USA) – The leader of the new-look Chivas USA side is still enough of a handful up top that his manager has him operate as the lone forward and he produces to the tune of a goal and two assists vs. New England.
FW: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo) – The early favorite for Rookie of the Year honors nets the first hat trick of 2011 and seems like the natural heir to Brian Ching. Another easy target up top for Brad Davis.
FW: Emilio Renteria (Columbus Crew) – The Venezuelan international fits the style of the 2011 Crew and has proven to be the perfect forward for its 4-5-1 formation. He works hard, runs faster and is not afraid to battle. Two goals vs. Vancouver proved it.
Manager: Dominic Kinnear (Houston Dynamo) – He has revitalized his squad with several key acquisitions without sacrificing the identity or style of his team. And moving midfielder Corey Ashe to left back has been a success. Suddenly, the Dynamo are arguably one of the deepest teams in MLS.
Honorable Mentions: Fabián Castillo (FC Dallas), Alvaro Fernandez (Seattle), Eddie Gaven (Columbus), Will Hesmer (Columbus), Kosuke Kimura (Colorado), Gershon Koffie (Vancouver), George John (FC Dallas), Ben Zemanski (Chivas USA)
2011 TEAM OF THE WEEK MENTIONS:
Goalkeepers: Stefan Frei (Week 7), Tally Hall (Week 2, Week 3), Kasey Keller (Week 4), Dan Kennedy (Week 5), Donovan Ricketts (Week 6), Nick Rimando (Week 1);
Defenders: Corey Ashe (Week 7), Danleigh Borman (Week 4), Bobby Boswell (Week 4), Danny Califf (Week 1), Omar Gonzalez (Week 3, Week 5), Zach Loyd (Week 1), Chad Marshall (Week 2, Week 3, Week 4), Josip Mikulic (Week 6), Drew Moor (Week 2), Jeff Parke (Week 1), Heath Pearce (Week 6), Alain Rochat (Week 2), A.J. Soares (Week 3), Jan Gunnar Solli (Week 6), Carlos Valdes (Week 7), Rodney Wallace (Week 5), Ethan White (Week 5), Sheanon Williams (Week 7);
Midfielders: Kalif Alhassan (Week 5), Osvaldo Alonso (Week 2), Kyle Beckerman (Week 1), Geoff Cameron (Week 3), Brian Carroll (Week 2), Davide Chiumiento (Week 1), Keon Daniel (Week 7), Brad Davis (Week 4, Week 5, Week 7), Simon Dawkins (Week 3), Dwayne De Rosario (Week 7), Brad Evans (Week 7), Julian de Guzman (Week 6), Landon Donovan (Week 6), Dilly Duka (Week 5), Benny Feilhaber (Week 6), David Ferreira (Week 4), Shalrie Joseph (Week 3), Juninho (Week 1), Nizar Khalfan (Week 4), Nick LaBrocca (Week 6), Javier Morales (Week 2), Marco Pappa (Week 2), Chris Pontius (Week 5), Teemu Tainio (Week 1), Steve Zakuani (Week 3, Week 4);
Forwards: Omar Bravo (Week 1), Will Bruin (Week 4, Week 7), Teal Bunbury (Week 3), Diego Chaves (Week 6), Omar Cummings (Week 1), Caleb Folan (Week 3), Eric Hassli (Week 1), Thierry Henry (Week 5, Week 6), Kei Kamara (Week 6), Javier Martina (Week 2), Alejandro Moreno (Week 7), Paulo Jr. (Week 2), Jorge Perlaza (Week 5), Emilio Renteria (Week 7), Luke Rodgers (Week 5), Mauro Rosales (Week 4), Camilo (Week 3), O'Brian White (Week 4), Chris Wondolowski (Week 2);
Managers: Hans Backe (Week 2), Robin Fraser (Week 6), Dominic Kinnear (Week 7), Jason Kreis (Week 4), Ben Olsen (Week 1), Gary Smith (Week 3), Robert Warzycha (Week 5).