The hits keep on coming in Major League Soccer as teams look to get points on the board before the departure of stars to the 2018 World Cup. Anybody who has United States players in their squad is perfectly fine, obviously. Here is this week’s Team of the Week.
GK – BOBBY SHUTTLEWORTH, MINNESOTA UNITED
Making his second appearance in Team of the Week is the Minnesota custodian as the Loons secured a credible point against Sporting Kansas City. Shuttleworth recorded nine saves, one punch a caught cross to restrict Johnny Russell and company to just one goal while Darwin Quintero secured the score at the other end of the pitch.
CB – ALEXANDER RING, NEW YORK CITY FC
You know the rules by now, a clean sheet gets you into this team. New York City FC recorded a much-needed victory after picking up just one point from their last two games, which of course included the loss to rivals Red Bulls. A big part of that defence was Ring, which allowed the NYCFC attackers to fill their boots.
CB – LALAS ABUBAKAR, COLUMBUS CREW
He’s back in the Team of the Week! Four weeks in a row now Columbus Crew defenders have been featured in this column and it’s no surprise considering how mean they have collectively been. Lalas earned his place with a headed goal in the 84th minute from a Higuain corner. Go back and watch it, it’s a masterclass in getting space away from your marker. He ducks behind a fellow attacker and just gets a yard on his man to head from close-range. Impressive and he gets the captains armband this week.
CB – REGGIE CANNON, FC DALLAS
Technically a right-back but the young man can show versatility in our lineup. There were other standout performances in this match which will be discussed below but Cannon made a name for himself with a great strike on the 40th minute. Cutting in from the right he beat two defenders before unleashing a fantastic strike on goal. Well played to the homegrown youngster.
RM – CRISTHIAN PAREDES, PORTLAND TIMBERS
A goal and an assist by the Paraguayan helps Portland continue their fine form, extending their winning streak to five games in succession. The Timbers also remains unbeaten at home this season with four wins out of four. His goal came from a spill by Tyler Miller after Diego Valeri’s free-kick and he then played in Samuel Armenteros for the winner.
CM – MARCUS EPPS, PHILADELPHIA UNION
Having seen Paredes goal and assist, Marcus Epps has raised him one goal and two assists. Fabrice-Jean Picault’s run was rewarded after a fine pulled back cross for Epps to run onto before he turned provider with two secondary assists as Union blew Real Salt Lake out of the water.
CM – LUCIANO ACOSTA, DC UNITED
If Wayne Rooney is to make the move to Major League Soccer with DC United, he will relish playing alongside Acosta and the Argentinian showed why in United’s away trip to San Jose Earthquakes. Whether it was the ball over the top for Steiber to run onto and finish or stealing the ball from the San Jose defence and playing in Mattocks for the second.
LM – RYAN TELFER, TORONTO FC
Take a bow Ryan Telfer. The 24-year-old Canada had a game to remember and no mistake. His goal was spectacular, hitting a volley from Auro’s cross-field cross to open his MLS account but in addition to that highlight he was the most-lively attacker on either side in the opening half.
CF – CARLOS VELA, LOS ANGELES FC
When Los Angeles FC needed a goal, Vela stepped up. 1 – 0 down to Paredes’ goal, the Mexican international and former Arsenal striker added to his own personal highlight reel with a curling effort from the edge of the box. LAFC went on to lose the game but Vela didn’t deserve to be on the losing end. He’s now got six goals in ten MLS games.
CF – KEI KAMARA, VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
Last minute penalty and your side are 2 – 1 down. Kei Kamara was under immense pressure as he stepped up to take the spot-kick for the Whitecaps after Maurer took out Blondell. He went to the goalkeeper’s right and although the Dallas ‘keeper went the right way and looked to get a hand to the strike, Kamara secured a point for the visitors.
CF – DAVID VILLA, NEW YORK CITY FC
Having received a special presentation for scoring 400 career goals before the game, he then added two more to his record with the opening goal against a poor Colorado Rapids side and then the last one. The first was courtesy of Tim Howard, whose clearance was not good and the Rapids never really covered. Villa’s second was thanks to the Spaniard’s positioning as he got himself free on the left as the spare man to convert.