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MLS Team of Week 24

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It's not the exact same group as last week, but it is full of many of the usual suspects from the form teams in MLS...

Big week for the captain
Big week for the captain
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Only room for one record-setter this week and it's not Chris Wondolowski (who tied the MLS record for consecutive seasons with double-digit goals) or Edson Buddle, who notched his 100th regular-season goal in MLS. Buddle was once a Metro, but this team only has room for current squad-members setting new club records.

Lining up in a nominal 3-4-3, but this is basically a loose collection of forwards held together by a couple of defenders and a 'keeper...

GK Bobby Shuttleworth (New England Revolution): His defense kept giving Chivas some good looks at goal, so Shuttleworth worked hard for a clean sheet this week, which anchored the Revs to a much-needed 1-0 win.

DEF Andrew Wenger (Philadelphia Union): What's that? Andrew Wenger is not a defender, he's a forward? Well yes, this is true. But there was some doubt as to whether he was really playing his best position, since he hasn't been much of a goal scorer in MLS. Wenger put any talk of returning him to the back line (where he played for a while in college) to rest for a while with two goals this week: each well-taken. Of course, that doesn't mean he cannot ultimately be a goal-scoring defender.

DEF Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy): LA's defense wasn't great against Colorado - the Galaxy was 3-1 down after 30 minutes. So Gonzalez did the only thing he could under the circumstances: pitched in up front to help turn the game around. He was a menace on attacking set pieces, scoring one and knocking down a header for Alan Gordon to knock in. After his contribution to the comeback in Colorado, he put in a more conventional performance against Vancouver, helping LA to shut out the Caps and take maximum points for the second time in week 24.

DEF Steve Birnbaum (DC United): The team of the week isn't really supposed to be for consistency, but it is time to send some praise Birnbaum's way. In his 11th consecutive start, the rookie center back helped his team lock outSporting KC in Sporting Park. The result was DC's ascent to the top of the Eastern Conference, a climb built on winning eight of the last 11 games, including three clean sheets in that time. Birnbaum's been around for all those matches.


RM Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas): How do you beat RSL with only ten men? Beat 'em for pace. Castillo is quick, but he's also canny and skillful. He scored FCD's match-winner this week by using his speed to take himself away from the defense and goal, thereby buying himself some space to tee up a shot that beat Nick Rimando from what had seemed an improbable distance and angle. His speed makes him a man defenders don't want to press too closely, but his shooting ability makes him a man who needs to be marked tight: he's a puzzle MLS defenses are struggling to solve.

CM Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls): Yes, he lines up as a forward. Yes, he scored two goals and set up a third from advanced positions as he carried RBNY to another not-as-easy-as-it-should-have-been home win. But he spends a lot of time hanging out in midfield, and it simply isn't right to stack this team with four players at forward. He demolished Montreal from an advanced midfield position, and that's the role he'll play in this week's best 11.

CM Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union): Three assists and a goal in a 4-2 win over San Jose that keeps the Union in playoff contention cannot be ignored. So Le Toux gets an out-of-position pick for his work this week.

LM Justin Meram (Columbus Crew): He's not slowing down. Followed last week's goal and assist with another score-one, make-one combination that set the Crew on the road to three points at home against Houston.


FWD Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders): First, he set up Chad Barrett for the goal that ultimately got Seattle a point against San Jose; next he scored two and set up one in the Sounders' 4-2 demolition of the Timbers in Portland.

FWD Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy): How good a week did Robbie Keane have? Well, he scored the first goal and set up the last in LA's topsy-turvy 4-3 win over Colorado, and then he scuffed two (he says one) shots that were converted into goals by alert teammates to take down Vancouver 2-0. When even things you do wrong go right, you have had a rather excellent week.

FWD Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls): Goals 19 and 20 for the season against Montreal sealed three points and a set a new single-season MLS scoring record for his club. If that doesn't get a man into Team of the Week on a site dedicated to all things Metro, there would be a problem.

Coach Bruce Arena (LA Galaxy): Since his words at half-time of the Galaxy's match in Colorado, his team has given Arena five goals and six points, and that has taken LA's under-the-radar Supporters' Shield bid out into the open.