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ASN’s Best XI, Week Twenty-One

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Major League Soccer parity is starting to show as the Galaxy lost yet again to a hungry Kansas City squad while the Crew lost some ground to New York after tying Dallas in Columbus. In the process, the Hoops broke a relatively surprising record, a ten game road unbeaten streak. Could Dallas be an MLS Cup contender this season or will there be a late-season break of form? In other news, Jimmy Conrad had quite possibly the best game of his season while Best XI stalwarts, Stefan Frei, Fredy Montero, and Rafa Marquez all made the team yet again. The biggest surprise however? The artist of Philadelphia’s last-minute 2-1 win over New England Justin Mapp. Mapp was send packing from Chicago but just like his teammate, Sebastien Le Toux, he has firmly established himself as a new Philadelphia hero.

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 21

GK: Stefan Frei, Toronto FC – 8

Even though the Reds weren’t able to pull out a win once again at BMO Field, it was a back and forth affair with the defending champions. Frei was lights out once again in between the posts as RSL – through Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola – tested again and again. Frei had surefire competition this week with Goalkeeper of the Year contender, Jimmy Nielsen.

DEF: Jimmy Conrad, Kansas City – 8

It’s a bit of an odd thing not to hear Jimmy Conrad’s name in Defender of the Year talks or even in the general discussion of the league. Regardless, Conrad delivered an impressive performance vs. slumping Los Angeles, shutting down Edson Buddle and company and grabbing the insurance goal as well.

DEF: Zach Loyd, FC Dallas – 7.5

Loyd has been pushed into centreback action after initially seeing time at fullback and he has performed admirably over the past couple games. Loyd, along with second-year back George John, helped blank the Eastern Conference leading Crew. The Hoops set the away unbeaten streak in the process having gone 3-0-7 in their last ten games. Loyd’s biggest contribution was a goal-line clearance that preserved the shutout midway through the second half.

DEF: Tyson Wahl, Seattle – 7.5

It was his first start in 17 matches at left back for Wahl, filling in for the suspended Leo Gonzalez. It was the former Wizard’s touchline run and pinpoint cross that allowed for ASN Player of the Week Fredy Montero to knock home the equalizer. It was Wahl’s first Major League Soccer assist. You can add Wahl to listen of fringe players that have really stepped it up as of late. Patrick Ianni has solidified a starting spot with the surging Sounder while Nathan Sturgis has a good run of form.  

MID: Rafa Marquez, Red Bull New York – 7.5

It’s amazing what one bad outing will do for you. Marquez is now the go-to man in central midfield and if it weren’t for Dane Richards, he would have won all the praise for yet another fine display. Rafa can win possession and deliver a gorgeous ball in a matter of seconds and having that kind of engine in the midfield provides plenty of space and opportunities for the attacking triumverate of Henry, Angel, and Richards.

MID: Davy Arnaud, Kansas City – 8

Arnaud can rub people the wrong way at times (much like Ben Olsen used to do at DC United) but nobody can ever question his work ethic. He scored the gamewinner against the Galaxy and provided the assist to Conrad to keep the Wizards on an unquestionable roll. True captain material, will the Wizards be able to do the same this weekend in Philadelphia?

MID: Justin Mapp, Philadelphia – 7.5

He didn’t have much time to work with but Mapp came to life in the last ten minutes and the game changed dramatically. A pinpoint over-the-top through ball assist was his first contribution as the young Jack McInerney equalized. In injury time, he provided the traveling Union supporters with something they’d remember forever – a happy bus ride home. After a Le Toux finish was broken up by the Revs’ Chris Tierney, Seb had the presence of mind to lay a perfect ball to Mapp who cooly placed his shot from 20 yards out to win the game in injury-time.

MID: Dane Richards, Red Bull New York – 8.5

If it weren’t for Fredy Montero, Richards would unquestionably be the Player of the Week this time around. He has new life on flank with Henry and Marquez around and he has stepped up in a big way for the Red Bulls. His play overshadowed Thierry Henry’s first MLS goal and that alone says enough. With big name players like Marquez and Henry comes space and less attention on the speedster. If he can deliver the goods weekly, the Red Bulls could be the team to beat come the postseason.

FWD: Conor Casey, Colorado, 7.5

Casey was all over the place for the Rapids who weren’t shy about beating down the 10-man Dynamo after an early Lovel Palmer sending off. It’s been mostly a down year for the big man, especially after that 2009 season but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Casey and Cummings duo started to gel again for a late season playoff push.  

FWD: Fredy Montero, Seattle, 8.5, ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The Sounders went down to Chicago late in the first half as Freddie Ljungberg was raring to punish his old club. The younger Fredy, however, had different plans. Montero hit for two, including the gamewinner, in a solid 2-1 win for the Sounders that confirmed Seattle is one of the hottest teams in the league right now. His efforts won him Major League Soccer’s player of the week honors for only the second time in his career (surprisingly). With Ljungberg gone, something tells me this form will continue.

FWD: Justin Braun, Chivas USA, 7.5

Braun has been a real headache for all MLS defenses this season, a surprising development in my book. Early on in his career, he looked destined to become the next Alan Gordon but he has developed into an incredibly competent striker with a lot of the components Kenny Cooper had. Decent feet, great in the air, and rather quick for a big man, count Braun in for future national team camps. Braun did the damage again in a 1-0 win over DC United on Sunday night, powering an 18-yard header home from distance and ultimately assuring the Goats three points.


Week 20, Best XI

Week 19, Best XI

Week 18, Best XI

Week 17, Best XI

Week 16, Best XI

Midseason, Best XI

Week 15, Best XI

Week 14, Best XI

Week 13, Best XI

Week 12, Best XI

Week 11, Best XI

Week 10, Best XI

Week 9, Best XI

Week 8, Best XI

Week 7, Best XI

Week 6, Best XI

Week 5, Best XI

Week 4, Best XI

Week 3, Best XI

Week 2, Best XI

 Week 1, Best XI

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