Sticking with the 4-4-2 for the last Team of the Week of MLS 2014...
GK Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire): The Fire's defense is all sorts of terrible, and left Johnson exposed repeatedly. On another day, Chicago would have conceded three or four goals. Houston scored just once because Johnson bailed his team out again and again and again. He finished the game with eight saves, while his teammates managed to find two goals for three points to end a dire season on a higher note than expected.
RB Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers): Put in a solid performance to offer some hope that Portland's essential remodeling of its back line may not need to be too drastic. The Timbers missed the playoffs this year because their defense let them down at key moments. But Powell showed up big when needed this week - including one highlight reel tackle - and even forced the turnover (intercepting a throw-in) that initiated the sequence leading to Portland's opening goal, which put them on the path to an unexpected 2-0 win in Dallas.
CB Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps): Another big game from the big man. He was an important part of Vancouver's effort to control possession - ultimately registering double-digit interceptions for the match. More importantly, he scored the goal the 'Caps needed for three points to secure their place in the playoffs.
CB Carlos Salcedo (Real Salt Lake): RSL's midweek win over Chivas USA secured the points that put the team in position to claim a CONCACAF Champions League place if either Seattle, LA, D.C. United, or Vancouver win MLS Cup. (And RSL will, of course, be in CCL if it wins MLS Cup - not an impossible dream for last year's defeated finalist.) Beating Chivas at home was revenge for the loss inflicted by the Goats just a few weeks earlier, which put paid to RSL's very small chance of competing for the Supporters' Shield. Salcedo stood out as the weakest link in an experienced defense, but the back line held Chivas to zero shots on target, and the young center back contributed more than half his team's total clearances (nine out of 17).
LB Bernardo Anor (Columbus Crew): His last-gasp tap-in ensured Columbus finished the season with a home win and positive momentum heading into the playoffs. He didn't play left back for the 12 minutes he was on the field, but he was in the game for the same reason he's a full back in this lineup: he's versatile.
RM Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers): Capped a frustrating year for himself and his team with his first goal of the season. Too little, too late for Portland's playoff ambitions, but take the goal (and the 2-0 road win over FC Dallas) as a sign of renewed determination to make amends in 2015.
CM Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps): At times, it appeared Morales was trying to get the 'Caps into the playoffs all by himself. His passing was almost as ambitious as his shooting (six attempts; one on target); his effort was beyond reproach.
CM Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls): He didn't do much of anything to trouble the score sheet or the highlight reel in RBNY's 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City, but this was a big week for Cahill, making his first start since getting sent off after three minutes against Columbus. He played the full 90 minutes as the middle of Mike Petke's three-man attacking midfield, selflessly supported BWP's last-ditch effort to break the MLS scoring record, and generally gave the impression that he still has a lot to offer his team - and might even be interested in sticking around to deliver it.
LM Marco Pappa (Seattle Sounders): The Sounders only needed a draw at home to clinch the Supporters' Shield, which might explain why they seemed more interested in beating LA physically than by more conventional soccer methods. But Pappa came on as a late sub, seemingly unaffected by the obsessive score-settling his teammates were indulging, and scored twice in the game's closing minutes to ensure the Galaxy would have no chance of ruining Seattle's party.
FWD Felix Borja (Chivas USA): The Goats got their third win in four games in what was later confirmed to be their last match...ever. Borja got the winner against San Jose, as he had done in the team's last two victories. He's a journeyman on loan from Pachuca, so don't expect to see his name among those scattered around MLS when the league gets into the nitty-gritty of shutting down Chivas USA. But he has provided an exclamation mark for the history of a club went down fighting, even though there was nothing the players on the field could do to rescue what was essentially a commercial failure.
FWD Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls): Goals 26 and 27 of a scoring spree that is literally one of the all-time greatest in MLS history. Of course, he's in Once A Metro's MLS Team of the Week.
COACH Wilmer Cabrera (Chivas USA): He's presumably been working for some time with the knowledge that he and his players would be out of a job at the end of the season, which makes the three-wins-out-of-four performance he coaxed out of the team for its big finish in MLS all the more remarkable. Did very well to guide Chivas USA to a win in the last game of its existence.