Just an old fashioned 4-4-2 this week...
GK Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls): Statistically, he's the busiest 'keeper in MLS - he's faced 80 shots and made 53 saves. This week was one of his most frantic: 10 saves as New England fashioned 22 attempts on goal. He's up for Save of the Week: vote Robles.
RB Nick Hagglund (Toronto FC): Posted double-digit clearances and recoveries as TFC absorbed considerable pressure from San Jose, particularly late in the game. But he was a revelation at the other end of the field: he showed quick feet and thinking with a volley that forced a dangerous parry from Jon Busch, then volleyed wide on the next attack on goal; he won the penalty that won the game for his team and was a recurring threat in the air.
CB Kevin Ellis (Sporting Kansas City): After apparently being identified as one of the reasons for KC's humiliating exit from CCL and banished to the lower leagues, Ellis has been given a shot at redemption by virtue of being one of the few fit defenders on his team's roster. Helped KC hold firm against considerable pressure from a Houston playing at home and (for most of the game) a man up.
CB Raushawn McKenzie (Portland Timbers): Since Caleb Porter started letting McKenzie play, the Timbers have won three out of four, and the one loss in that stretch was by the odd goal in seven. Portland worked harder for this week's 3-1 win in Salt Lake than the scoreline suggests. McKenzie's 11 clearances attest to the challenge of containing even a half-strength RSL.
LB Jair Benitez (FC Dallas): It would appear the left back position in Dallas is reserved for guys who can take a good free kick. Michel is injured, so Benitez has increased responsibility, and he skimmed a rocket off Andres Escobar for FCD's opening goal this week.
RM Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas): His runs troubled Colorado all night, setting up FCD's second goal before he simply slalomed through the Rapids' defense and scored the winner himself.
CM Peguy Luyindula (New York Red Bulls): The reason RBNY didn't lose to New England was Luis Robles; the reason for the win - Luyindula. He did his best to introduce some fluency and guile to the attack, and when his teammates couldn't keep up, slapped his only scoring chance of the game past Bobby Shuttleworth to give his team the two goal cushion it needed.
CM Harrison Shipp (Chicago Fire): His team still isn't great, but Shipp is getting better by the week. He scored twice against the Sounders, humbling the defense with his first (which would be this column's pick for Goal of the Week) and further elevating his profile as one of the league's better finishers with his second.
LM Cristian Maidana (Philadelphia Union): For the second week in a row, Philly scored three goals. For the second week in a row, Conor Casey scored two of them. And for the second week in a row, Maidana had a
hand foot in all three.
FWD Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers): Turns out what Portland's sophisticated tactical system was missing was a big man up front who knows how to hold his position. Adi scored a header off a set piece and slammed in a poacher's goal off a rebound to give the Timbers a lead they'd never relinquish against RSL.
FWD Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders): Here's what Martins crammed into 42 minutes of work this week: missing an open goal; yellow card; drawing Jhon Kennedy Hurtado into two yellow cards and an early ejection; converting the penalty he won; scoring another from open play; getting himself sent off before half time.
Coach - Mike Petke (New York Red Bulls): You want to say Caleb Porter's role in Portland's first win in Salt Lake after barely four seasons of trying is impressive? Try taking a team missing half its front-line players to a place it hasn't won for more than a decade, against a full-strength opponent in top form, and eking out the most improbable win of the week. Well done, Mike.