Team of the Week

Another weekend of MLS action has concluded with Columbus Crew taking a big step towards the top of the Eastern Conference and without playing a game, Sporting Kansas City’s position at the top of the Western Conference was strengthened.

GK – ANDRE BLAKE, PHILADELPHIA UNION

You should know the rules by now, clean sheets get you into this team at the back and of the goalkeepers who recorded a shutout this weekend, Andre Blake gets the nod over the likes of Zack Steffan simply because he deserves more credit for an away clean sheet. It was the Union’s win on the road since May of last year and just their second in their last 27 away games dating back to September 2016.

LB – HECTOR JIMENEZ, COLUMBUS CREW

A clean sheet and an assist to his name for the left-back, the third Crew defender to be included in Team of the Week in the last three weeks after Milton Valenzuela and Lalas Abubakar. His assist was thanks to good attacking positioning, getting himself forward and playing across for Grella to step over and Zardes find the bottom corner.

CB – KENDALL WASTON, VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

It seems that Kendall Waston never has a quiet game and he didn’t against Houston Dynamo, keeping his name in the headlines and earning a second spot in Team of the Week. Just prior to half time it was him who provided the assist for Jose Aja moments before half time and then secured a point with the latest of late goals, 90+4 minutes on the clock he headed in at the back post and punched the air in celebration.

CB – BROOKS LENNON, REAL SALT LAKE

Technically a left-back but he could play centre-back, more than Hector Jimenez could as a more defensive full-back. Lennon got forward to good effect and his assist for Albert Rusnak was crucial as it put RSL 2 – 1 in front. Lennon was a late arrival in the box but took the ball and cut back for Rusnak to pass into the back of the net when the DC United defence were shaping up for a cross.

RB – MICHAEL MURILLO, NEW YORK RED BULLS

Another marauding full-back gets the nod for Team of the Week honours as it was Murillo’s cross that caused panic in the Colorado Rapids defence for Daniel Royer to convert. There seemed little danger as he picked up the ball from a throw-in but one quick movement opened up the cross and Royer stooped to head in.

CM – CRISTIAN PENILLA, NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

Two early goals for Penilla put New England Revolution on the path to victory. The first on four minutes was a long run as he was presented the ball inside the centre circle and sped towards goal before beating Alexander Bono. His second was just three minutes later as he took advantage of the Revolution pressure on goalkeeper Bono, a stray pass landed at Penilla’s feet and with Bono off his line, he steered the ball impressively home for a brace.

CM – SEBASTIAN BLANCO, PORTLAND TIMBERS

The best goal of the weekend in the eyes of this writer came late on as Portland Timbers hosted Seattle Sounders. A well-crafted and sumptuous chip over goalkeeper Stefan Frei secured three points for the home side late in the day, Seattle only had four minutes of regulation time to get back in the game.

CM – MAURO DIAZ, FC DALLAS

Having found himself on the bench for four games in succession, Mauro Diaz responded in the best possible sense by laying on three assists. The first for Urriti was a simple pass that the striker turned into a spectacular goal before two for Roland Lamah, starting with a brilliant through ball that cut the defence out and then a mazey run before crossing. Diaz has struggled to regain the form that led FC Dallas to a Supporters’ Shield and Lamar Hunt US Open Cup double in 2016 before suffering an Achilles tendon rupture but this could be a turning point for the Argentinian.

LF – ROLAND LAMAH, FC DALLAS

The recipient of two of the assists from Mauro Diaz was Roland Lamah, who scored two goals. The first particularly was impressive as put through one-on-one with the goalkeeper he went for power and smashed the ball past the onrushing David Bingham in the LA Galaxy goal. Lamah’s second ended the hopes of Galaxy of getting back in the game after Ola Kamara had got on the scoresheet.

CF – GYASI ZARDES, COLUMBUS CREW

Written off by LA Galaxy to the point he was playing left-back last season, Zardes has impressed massively at Columbus Crew and for any kids reading, look at Zardes movement for his first early in the second half. He sprints forward as the ball travels on the right with substitute Hansen, he ducks inside, dragging the defender with him, and then backs out to give himself space to finish. His second was courtesy of the dummy from Grella and his strike was low into the bottom corner.

RF – ROMAIN ALESSANDRINI, LA GALAXY

Even in defeat, Alessandrini deserves credit. There are a lot of reasons why Galaxy have slumped to four losses in succession but the winger is not one of them. His corner just after half time was on point like a decimal in the corridor of uncertainty and with Jimmy Maurer rooted to his line, Ola Kamara landed a bullet header.