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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 7: Bruin impresses but Davis fuels Houston statement win

Posted on 04 May 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Our job is to pick the individuals that stood out in the past week of Major League Soccer play and there many that did but ultimately, it was the team that was on display in Week 7. Statement wins from Seattle (coming off Zakuani’s injury), Houston (shaky start to the season), Chivas USA (recent subpar play), and Philadelphia (ten men) were big as both Western Conference powers Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake fell to FC Dallas and Portland respectively. Individuals played their part, though, with a rookie stealing the show. It was his supplier, however, who walked away with Week 7’s ASN Player of the Week honors.  

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week 7

GK: Jimmy Nielsen (Kansas City)

Nielsen’s name was considered one of the best signings of last season and, despite a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls, he showed why 2011 is no different this past weekend. The Danish keeper kept Kansas City in a match that looked set to blow wide open early on, stopping a Rafa Marquez penalty kick and making several clutch saves before Luke Rodgers dampened an impressive showing.

DEF: Jeremy Hall (Portland)

A force on the right flank when asked to play fullback for the Timbers against Real Salt Lake. The former Terp has come a long way since rookie year and several tumultuous showings at right back for the New York Red Bulls. Hall, however, stood out against Salt Lake, helping them to a big 1-0 win providing further confirmation that winning at JELD-WEN is going to be a very difficult task for visiting teams.

DEF: Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia)

Another stellar defensive outing from Valdes, especially so as he and Califf were given even more responsibility than usual with both wingbacks pushing up high early on.  Then, after Harvey’s ejection, as the Union continued to attack, it was the steady hand of Valdes that insured that no quick counterattack or long ball challenged the Philadelphia goal.  So solid has Carlos’ play been that it seems fruitless to try and point out the myriad positive plays he makes in this space.  Instead, one must try and identify any mistakes.  As has been the case more often than not this season, there were none against San Jose. – Sam Toma, ASN Philly

It’s Valdes’ THIRD appearance in the ASN Best XI to go with one bench appearance.

DEF: George John (FC Dallas)

John’s second consecutive appearance in ASN’s Best XI and once again, well deserved. John and his defensive compatriots held the Galaxy as the Hoops offense found two goals to beat the Western Conference leaders. He was largely responsible for limiting the influence of Juan Pablo Angel and has quickly become one of Schellas Hyndman’s most trusted defensive picks.

MID: Brad Evans (Seattle)

Sigi Schmid often talks about the hidden and underlying influence that Brad Evans has on any particular Sounders game. There was nothing under-the-radar, however, about his game against Toronto FC this past weekend. He took part in all three goals, scoring two and assisting the other. With Zakuani out, the Sounders are not surprisingly playing each game like its their last with a sense of urgency and center midfielders, Osvaldo Alonso and Evans are at the forefront of that.

MID: Brad Davis (Houston) – ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Davis played architect yet again in the Dynamo’s 4-1 thrashing of DC United. It’s one thing for a striker to make a nice off-the-ball run but there has to be that person to provide the perfect service for him to hammer home. If it weren’t for Brad Davis, Will Bruin wouldn’t have had the breakout game he did. There’s still a young history in Houston but I must recommend that Davis is starting to take over that “face of the franchise” role from Brian Ching. His second appearance in the Best XI this season.

MID: Dwayne De Rosario (New York)

Hans Backe doesn’t want De Rosario to play for Canada in this summer’s Gold Cup. Could a lot of it have to do with his performance in the Red Bulls 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City? DeRo looked the part, causing a porous Kansas City defense problems and causing the foul that led to botch Rafa Marquez penalty attempt. The former MVP set Luke Rodgers up with an easy gamewinner as the Red Bulls continue to lead the Eastern Conference. It’s DeRo’s second time in the Best XI this season.

MID: Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia)

Left as the sole defensive midfielder to help anchor the defense, it was trial by fire for the rapidly developing Okugo.   From early on, it was clear that Amobi was up to the task, as he not only stood tall in defense, but was happy to keep the ball and move forward to initiate the attack.   Then, at halftime, when Stefani Miglioranzi came on to take on the lion’s share of the defensive responsibility, Okugo shifted to a hybrid role and found himself pushing forward as the Union’s attack continued to gain momentum, even with the man disadvantage.   First, he trailed the attack in the 70th minute when a failed clearance came to him and he took a strong shot from 25 yards that forced Jon Busch into action.  Then, the payoff came in the 76th minute, when a strong run into the box ended with an attempted cross that struck the hand of Earthquakes defender Jason Hernandez and resulted in the ultimately game-winning penalty kick, converted by Le Toux.  Okugo’s versatility is fast making him invaluable to the Philadelphia side.  It is going to be incredibly difficult to keep him out of the starting XI from this point forward. – Sam Toma, ASN Philly

FWD: Will Bruin (Houston)

Bruin, a rookie, is further cementing the well-known fact that Dominic Kinnear knows how to scout talent. The former


 Hoosier striker connected for his first hat-trick in his professional career (and first hat-trick registered in Major League Soccer this season) as the Dynamo helped DC United continue its descent into the pits of the Eastern Conference. His off the ball movement and strength in the air was further aided by some suspect marking by United’s defense. Regardless, it was a big day for the rookie and one that Houston supporters will hope comes more often.

FWD: Alejandro Moreno (Chivas USA)

Union fans look away. Several games into the season and Moreno already has three goals and two assists. His tireless work ethic and determination fits well with almost any team but it has been sorely needed with a revamped Chivas USA squad now making waves. There’s a winning streak in Los Angeles with this past contest, a 3-0 shellacking of the New England Revolution, and Moreno had a hand in all three goals (one goal, two assists).

FWD: Emilio Renteria (Columbus)

The Crew are without their Designated Player Andres Mendoza but could it be that they gave the wrong player their pay day? Renteria thrived as the lone striker up top for the Crew as provided both tallies in a 2-1 over Vancouver. It seems the Crew are starting to find their identity amidst a six game unbeaten streak and Renteria, with three goals, should continue to be part of the ongoing “discovery process”.

Bench: Keon Daniel (Philadelphia), Tim Ream (New York), Rafa Marquez (New York), Marcos Mondaini (Chivas USA), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Kenny Cooper (Portland), Marco Pappa (Chicago), Jimmy Nielsen (Kansas City), Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas), Geoff Cameron (Houston), Corey Ashe (Houston)


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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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