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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 9: A Braun-y win for Chivas USA

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

It was a Western Conference dominated week in Major League Soccer. Chivas USA registered the upset of the week and possibly the season over Theirry Henry and the Red Bulls, thanks to their hero of 2010 (as well as this week’s Player of the Week). FC Dallas took six points, showing worrywarts that they’ll be good no matter what. Los Angeles was just a shade behind, grabbing four points but more importantly, the play of Beckham, Donovan, and Angel continues to gel, a welcomed sign for Galaxy fans. Last but not least, Frank Yallop and San Jose unleashed a statement performance against Columbus with 2010’s Golden Boot winner Wondolowski at the center of the action. Will the Eastern Conference bounce back?

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 9

GK: Matt Reis, New England

Shalrie Joseph converted the games only goal and Vancouver’s woes continued but that’s not to say they didn’t put up one hell of a fight. Reis made a clutch save on Omar Salgado late in the game to preserve the three points. His performance, in concert with the play of a younger Revs backline featuring Alston, Soares, and Barnes, extended the Whitecaps winless streak to 10 games.

DEF: Mamadou Danso, Portland

It was deja vu for Timbers fans. Danso, the hero against Philadelphia, reprised his role – this time to equalize – in the first Cascadia derby. Portland continues to show a knack for putting away set pieces but more importantly, their defense has shored things up after a shoddy start to the season. Danso is a big part of that, keeping – for the most part – tabs on Nate Jaqua and Fredy Montero and ensuring that the Timbers come just a little bit closer to shedding that “expansion” tag once and for all. This is Danso’s 2nd consecutive selection in the Best XI.

DEF: George John, FC Dallas

After a little hiatus, John is back and he certainly deserves to be. John was a key man in the Hoops double dose of shutouts in Week 9. First, a midweek 1-0 shutout over Toronto FC in which John and the last line of defense, Kevin Hartman, kept Plata and company at bay. The Union then came to town and the 2nd year central defender neutralized the threat of last year’s biggest surprise Sebastien Le Toux.  John has been selected to the Best XI three out of the last four weeks.

DEF: Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake

Played a big role in the defensive deadlock, helping to shut down Houston’s rookie on fire Will Bruin. Salt Lake is having a bit of a offensive crisis right now but the defense is still incredibly solid. Borchers and Olave are arguably the best central defense pairing in the league and their good play will help Salt Lake weather the shock of losing Javi Morales and the CONCACAF Champions League.

MID: Corben Bone, Chicago

Probably his best game in a Fire shirt, it’s clear that more playing time has done Corben some good. The second year midfielder finds himself selected for the first time after a spirited showing against Toronto FC, pulling the strings in the attack. He had a hand in both goals and if the Fire defense can tighten things up, Chicago should bound out of the Eastern Conference basement.

MID: Ryan Johnson, San Jose

There are very few in the league that can match Johnson’s work ethic and determination, two skills that worked wonders against a previously staunch Crew backline. The Jamaican ruled the left flank and served in several killer crosses, one finding Wondolowski for the first goal of the game. The Quakes then rattled off two more goals making it 3-0 in just over 12 minutes, a scene Frank Yallop would welcome more often.

MID: Chris Wondolowski, San Jose

We’re well past the stage where Wondolowski can be treated as a Major League Soccer reserve player but, to many, people wonder how he continues to score. He brought his total up to five for the season with the gamewinner in a resounding 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew. He’s a true poacher now and as the Quakes hit their stride, it’ll be hard to keep him away from double digits in the scoring department for a second straight season. It’s his second appearance in the Best XI this season.

MID: Landon Donovan, Los Angeles

Once Donovan catches fire, it’s hard to cool him off. The veteran, now linked with a move to AS Roma, hit for two more in a 4-1 romp of Sporting Kansas City. He was everywhere, picking apart a tough working Kansas City midfield and blowing open a game that was 1-1 at the half. Midweek, Donovan scored the opener in a 1-1 tie at PPL Park, a game that Bruce Arena and Donovan’s Galaxy teammates felt hard done not to win. Surprisingly, this is only his second time in ASN’s Best XI in 2011. So far, that is.

Courtesy of MLSSoccer.com

FWD: Justin Braun, Chivas USA *ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK*

Braun made the statement of his young career. After suffering a long scoring drought to start the season, Braun exploded for a hat-trick against the New York Red Bulls to help Chivas USA win 3-2 away from home. Last year’s revelation for the Goats, Braun opened things up early on before answering two equalizers and securing the upset. If Braun is to make this a long-term thing, Chivas USA may make their way up the table.

FWD: Joao Plata, Toronto FC

One of the better players on the field midweek vs. FC Dallas, Plata is quickly making a name for himself in Toronto and beyond. His performance against Chicago, however, continues to accelerate that trend. TFC fans can thank Jon Conway for one of the goals but Plata’s productive performance (a goal and an assist) put him on the Best XI for the second week in a row.

FWD: Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas

There is no way one can fully replace the services that a David Ferreira provides. The young Castillo, and fellow Colombian, is trying his hardest though. A goal and an assist against Philadelphia’s stingy defense is the perfect way to dull a reality that undoubtedly is still sinking in for Hoops fans. FC Dallas themselves, however, haven’t been too worried – racking up four wins in their last five games.

Bench: Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Andre Hainault (Houston), Alvaro Fernandez (Seattle), Simon Elliott (San Jose), Shalrie Joseph (New England), Cory Gibbs (Chicago), Chris Pontius (DC United), Perry Kitchen (DC United), Steven Lenhart (San Jose), Chad Barrett (Los Angeles)

ARCHIVES:

MLS Best XI, Week 8

MLS Best XI, Week 7

MLS Best XI, Week 6

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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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Fourteen

Posted on 13 July 2010 by Breton Bonnette

It was a week of the unassisted goal as Chivas USA’s Justin Braun and New England’s Marko Perovic and Sainey Nyassi grabbed huge wins for their respective teams – both cellar-dwellers. Those between the sticks also enjoyed Week Fourteen as San Jose’s Jon Busch and Toronto FC’s Stefan Frei both showed their chops in victories. Even keepers on the losing or tying end impressed like the Wizards’ Jimmy Nielsen and Seattle’s Kasey Keller. The cellar-dwellers fought bravely over the weeked. New England pulled out a key win, DC United a point, and Chivas USA grabbed three at the expense of a falter Kansas City squad. In the end, it was a young striker that took this week’s Player of the Week honors after he single-handedly earned three points for a team in desperate need of any sort of positive news.

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Fourteen

GK:  Jon Busch, San Jose – 8

Busch executed perfectly all evening much to the frustration of Danny Mwanga, Sebastien Le Toux and every Union fan imaginable. Busch is a true professional, having been cut from the Chicago Fire before the season’s start as the Fire opted to go for unproven Andrew Dykstra instead. It was only his 3rd start of the season but he showed why he was once voted Goalkeeper of the Year. Fellow former All-Star and Earthquake, Joe Cannon, however, probably isn’t as excited to see Busch doing so well.  

DEF: Tim Ream, Red Bull New York – 7.5

In a game that RBNY coach Hans Backe labeled “a rather boring nil-nil draw”, Tim Ream was much obliged to keep it that way. After an up and down May and June, the Red Bulls’ rookie phenom is back to where he started. He was vital in keeping DC United at bay and securing the Atlantic Cup trophy. If he can stay consistent, with the “rumored” additions coming to the Red Bulls, this can be a very dangerous team in the homestretch.

DEF: Steven Kinney, Chicago – 7.5

Not many people knew Kinney’s name before this weekend but the Elon graduate and 2009 draft pick was the man of the match in Chicago’s 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. He corralled Robbie Findley for the brunt of the game – before a questionable PK call on C.J. Brown led to Findley’s gamewinning conversion – and participated in what little attack the Fire could muster. He was all of the attack, actually, as he hit the crossbar twice off of Mike Banner corner kicks. Not a bad debut for a guy that wasn’t slated to see much time this season.

DEF: Julius James, DC United – 7

James had the tough task of closing down New York’s Juan Pablo Angel in this past weekend’s Atlantic Cup showdown. He did his job admirably even though the 0-0 deadlock gave New York the Atlantic Cup. James, however, a journeyman in this league is starting to catch his stride along with the rest of the Black and Red who are 2-0-3 in their last 5 games.  

DEF: Jeff Parke, Seattle – 7.5

Dominating in the backline. Was solid in his winning headers, and extremely impressive in making saving tackles. He even displayed skills on the ball that no other Seattle central defender could dream of. – Nate Schiffler, ASN Seattle

MID: David Ferreira, FC Dallas – 8

Ferreira produced the most stunning highlight of the weekend with his late game volley that beat a frozen Kasey Keller. His give and go with Heath Pearce worked perfectly and the dimunitive attacker’s 4th goal in his last 5 appearances stunned a crowd of over 37,000 at Seattle’s Qwest Field. He has been a talismanic figure for the Hoops this season and Dallas fans are so happy with his play that they might even be called optimistic for the rest of the season.

MID: Fred, Philadelphia – 7

In a bit of a tactical change, Fred began the game as an attacking midfielder on the left wing.  This paid off in the 14th minute when he received Danny Mwanga’s flick-on of a goal kick in stride and banged it home past Jon Busch to open the scoring.  Almost scored a spectacular 2nd goal in the 37th minute on a volley of Jordan Harvey’s cross that went just wide of the far post.  Was able to move to the middle when Salinas came on in the 65th minute.  From there, he provided his unique mix of holding and creating, using his considerable dribbling ability to link the midfield with the attack.  Came off for extra striker Jack McInerney in the 81st minute. – Sam Toma, ASN Philly

MID: Sainey Nyassi, New England – 8

Sure, New England was at home but I don’t think anyone was expecting a 2-0 Revs win over the league-dominating Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy were sans Landon Donovan but even with him, it might not have mattered. Sainey Nyassi was a terror down the wings – even though his first half was relatively sub=par – and grabbed a goal to boot. It’s doubly important because the Revs hadn’t won since May 29th.

MID: Shalrie Joseph, New England – 8

It’s a good thing Shalrie Joseph found a way to continue his season in 2010. He has been the heart and soul of this squad since his return. In the 2-0 win over the Galaxy, it was Joseph’s shot that led to Nyassi’s put back and a nice 2-0 cushion over the league leaders. New England became the first team to strike for two goals against the Galaxy and Nicol’s gamble with the push forward paid off.

FW: Justin Braun, Chivas USA – 8.5, ASN”s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

A brace of goals authored solely by himself, the 23-year old Chivas USA striker continues to impress this season. Up to six goals now in 2010, Braun allowed Martin Vasquez to jettison Brazilian striker Maicon Santos and has pushed Maykel Galindo to the bench for the time being. Hard to say what is going to happen now that Venezualan legend Giancarlo Maldonado is in the mix.

FW: Fredy Montero, Seattle – 7

Strong game. Dropped back into the midfield often to collect the ball and spring the attack, almost like an attacking midfielder. Much, much better than when he has to play as a target man. And a perfect header on the goal. Almost had a second on a Dallas mistake but was denied by the keeper. – Nate Schiffler, ASN Seattle

After this weekend, we are at the halfway mark. We will have a Best XI for the first half of the season on its’ way not too far after that. Who were you most impressed with this week? What do you think of Thierry Henry’s impending move to New York?

Archives:

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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