ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 6: Henry and Donovan awake from slumber

Posted on 27 April 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The season rolls on even after a weekend marred by the loss of two of Major League Soccer’s most exciting attacking talents in Steve Zakuani and David Ferreira. Zakuani suffered a broken fibula and tibia after a rash challenge from Colorado’s Brian Mullan while reigning MLS MVP Ferreira fell victim to a broken ankle after a Jonathan Leathers tackle. The news dampened the announcement of New York and Los Angeles respectively as rejuvenated and dangerous attacking squads. Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry were the catalysts as both sides put up dominant performances over Portland and DC United.

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Six

GK: Donovan Ricketts, Los Angeles

The scoreline might have been heavily tilted in the Galaxy’s direction but that does not mean that Ricketts had nothing to do. Quite the opposite actually. Ricketts was tested on several occasions by the Timbers offense and fortunately for the Galaxy’s defense, he was up to the task. Late in the game, especially, it was Ricketts who kept Portland star Kenny Cooper from generating any momentum.

DEF: Heath Pearce, Chivas USA

Pearce won’t be leaving the center of defense anytime soon after his performance in the Goats 2-1 win in San Jose. It was the American international’s dangerous 35 yard free kick that was ever so slightly touched by Alejandro Moreno that equalized after San Jose pressured early. He was the key to neutralizing last year’s Golden Boot winner Wondolowski after he tasted goal in the 16th minute.

DEF: Alain Rochat, Vancouver

We’re not too far into the season and Rochat has already established himself as one of the best defenders in all of Major League Soccer. Both Rochat and Chiumiento have provided a consistency to the Whitecaps, something much coveted for an expansion club. The Swiss defender’s composure and keen positioning will be something the Whitecaps can build around and expand on as the season progresses. It’s Rochat’s second selection in the ASN Best XI.

DEF: Jan Gunnar Solli, New York

Probably the easiest selection on here and along with teammate Thierry Henry, deserves Player of the Week honors. Working from right back, Solli’s forays into the attack yielded a trio of assists, two to Henry and one to wunderkid Juan Agudelo. United’s left flank had absolutely no answer for the Norwegian veteran. It’s Solli’s second selection in the ASN Best XI.

DEF: George John, FC Dallas

Things are coming together for George John in a big way. He has solidified his spot in Schellas Hyndman’s starting XI and made quite the name for himself on the field even as Dallas struggled to start the season. The Hoops, dealt a blow recently with the loss of David Ferreira to injury, are still starting to hit their stride and on defense, it has a lot to do with the second year former Washington Husky. Against Vancouver, John dabbled in the offense as well – powering home the equalizer before a late Avila gamewinner sealed a three point deal.

MID: Julian De Guzman, Toronto FC

An extended glimpse of Designated Player-like play from De Guzman, something Toronto FC fans have been looking for over the past couple seasons. Showed poise in the midfield and creativity that had rarely been seen before as a Red. It was De Guzman that supplied the through ball that found Tony Tchani as Toronto settled for a tie. Aron Winter’s XI, however, looked more like a team this week and De Guzman was the glue that held them together against the Crew.

MID: Eric Avila, FC Dallas

The young Avila replaced 2010’s MVP David Ferreira and supplied the gamewinner. He plays the role of super sub as well as any in Major League Soccer but with Ferreira out recovering from a broken ankle, can Avila develop into the consistent attacking threat that the Hoops need in replacement? He will get his chance to show that he can and Hoops fans are certainly hoping he takes that chance and runs with it.

MID: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles

Two giants awoke this past weekend. Donovan, coming back from a knee injury, looked his old self and brought an expansion team to its knees in the spoiling of Portland’s good run of form. More importantly for the Galaxy, Donovan was consistent in his effect on the game at hand. He asserted himself early – assisting Chad Barrett’s first goal before drawing the penalty (which he then converted) – all in the first 8 minutes. Juan Pablo Angel then delivered an amazing 67th minute cross across the danger area right onto a streaking Donovan’s head. A combination that Galaxy fans would surely pay to see more often.

FWD: Diego Chaves, Chicago

At times, he almost doesn’t fit in with the Fire offense – a step too fast or ahead of the rest of the Fire attack. That hasn’t hindered him in production, however, grabbing four goals already in 2011 including the opener against a revitalized Houston Dynamo squad. His goal vs. Houston wasn’t the product of impressive flair or creativity but instead sheer determination. Chaves is the kind of opportunistic goalscorer the Fire need – if only three points came with it when all was said and done.

FWD: Thierry Henry, New York *ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK*

Henry is starting to put away the chances – one against San Jose, two against DC United away from home. The key is that he has the supporting cast to keep the chances coming for the French striker and it’s pretty apparent – at least in the last couple games – that he does. The Solli/Henry combination is definitely not one that will fizzle out anytime soon. This is Henry’s second selection of the season – two in a row to be exact.

FWD: Kei Kamara, Kansas City

A brace from Kei should normally win it for a team but defensive questions linger for Sporting Kansas City as New England bested them 3-2. Kamara did his part, taking his chances well and putting up what should have been the game winner for Kansas City before New England battled back for the win. Replacing Omar Bravo is tough but Kamara is doing what he can, scoring the last three goals for Sporting.

Bench: Teemu Tainio (New York), Joel Lindpere (New York), Nick LaBrocca (Colorado), Patrick Ianni (Seattle), Benny Feilhaber (New England), Bobby Boswell (Houston), Marco Pappa (Chicago), Fredy Montero (Seattle), Chad Barrett (Los Angeles)


MLS Best XI, Week 5

MLS Best XI, Week 4

MLS Best XI, Week 3

MLS Best XI, Week 2

MLS Best XI, Week 1

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