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MLS Team of Week 14

There is one star shining more brightly than the rest in MLS at the moment, but we still found 10 others to join him in this week's TotW.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Lining up in a 3-4-3 this week, because it seems there is always need to find room for Giovinco...

GK Andrew Dykstra (D.C. United): Honorable mention to Sporting KC's Tim Melia, who made six saves in fending of Seattle and back-stopping a 1-0 win for his team. But Dykstra was often left hopelessly exposed by DCU's back-line, and came up with saves reminiscent of the man he's filling in for: Bill Hamid. He couldn't do enough to stop Sebastien Giovinco claiming two goals and a win for Toronto FC, but he did get better reward for his work against Chicago Fire in mid-week. No clean sheet in either game he played this week for Dykstra, but that's down to the misfortune of coming up against Giovinco, and having a defense that appears to have got too used to the idea of being bailed out by the man in goal.

DEF Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers): He's been attracting attention for his defensive work all season (Powell is averaging a league-leading 5.3 tackles per game according to WhoScored.com), but the young full back can get forward also. His attacking talent was rewarded with his first assist of the season this week, to go alongside five tackles and three interceptions - he helped Portland's cause at both end of the pitch in Week 14.

DEF Wandrille Lefevre (Montreal Impact): The 26-year-old seems old enough to be a more significant part of Montreal's plans, but he has just 24 MLS appearances to his name since signing a homegrown player contract in 2013. Two of those came this week and he may be due a few more after helping L'Impact to secure six points from Week 14. He was the weakest link in Montreal's defense on paper in both games, but the goals conceded were the fault of Andres Romero (who gave up a - somewhat harsh - penalty against Vancouver) and senior centerback Laurent Ciman (who flubbed a clearance at the end of the match against Columbus). A week's total of nineteen clearances, four interceptions, four blocks (just against Vancouver), and three tackles speak to a solid performance from a player who has reached the age where it is time to break into the first team or find another club at which to try to make his name.

DEF Pa-Modou Kah (Vancouver Whitecaps): The defensive performance of the week must surely belong to Vancouver Whitecaps, who shrugged off a mid-week loss to Montreal and held LA Galaxy to zero shots on target in LA. A team can't score if it can't get the ball on target, and the Caps duly made Kekuta Manneh's 32nd-minute goal stand up as the match-winner. But we are singling out Vancouver's other Gambian (and Norwegian) for praise this week. Kah is too-often in the spotlight for his mistakes, but he was part of a solid defense that constrained an opponent who enjoyed more than 60% of possession. He tallied six interceptions, a telling contribution to the Caps' rearguard effort to keep LA at bay.

RM Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo): Garcia's contribution was perhaps a little lost in the post-match analysis of Houston's 4-2 win over the New York Red Bulls. The refereeing was terrible, as were the Red Bulls, and Will Bruin scored two very good goals. But Houston was losing when Garcia entered the game at the start of the second half. He scored the equalizer, set up the go-ahead goal, and loosed Bruin on a back-pedaling RBNY defense to score the Dynamo's third. In 35 minutes - from joining the match at half-time to Bruin's 80th-minute goal - Garcia decisively flipped the match his team's way: a good week by any standard.

CM Thomas McNamara (NYC FC): He didn't win the game for his team, that was Patrick Mullins, but McNamara's bolt from the blue put NYC FC back on level terms in Philadelphia. And that set the platform for his lack luster club to get three points from one game for the first time since its opening day. Not a bad return from a player making his first start of the season, and who turned his first shot into his first goal of 2015.

CM Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact): One half of what has quietly become one of the more dangerous attacking combinations in MLS. Piatti and Andres Romero - both, incidentally, Argentine - terrorized Vancouver and Columbus this week. Piatti scored the match-winner against Vancouver, set up by Romero, then assisted his teammate and compatriot on the goal that ensured Montreal took three points out of Columbus.

LM Andres Romero (Montreal Impact): The other half of Montreal's deadly duo, he also tallied a goal and an assist in Week 14, and was routinely a mesmerizing threat to defenses when he had the ball at his feet.

FWD Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo): He's supposed to be the typical big man - good in the air, a threat at set pieces and in situations that require a little muscle. This week, Bruin showed unexpected finesse: twice scoring from situations he created with the ball at his feet, running at the defense and finding the net from impressive distance.

FWD Fabian Espindola (D.C. United): This column will overlook the claims of players who bagged two goals each (Fanendo Adi and Jairo Arrieta) in favor of one who provided three assists. Espindola pulled the strings in DCU's 3-1 win over Chicago, and seemed on track for a similar performance against Toronto - before he was overshadowed by one of the few attacking players in the league in better form.

FWD Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC): Yet another high point in what increasingly looks like a league MVP season for the Italian. TFC is paying him big money for exactly the sort of superlative individual skill he's been delivering recently. Two more goals for Giovinco this week brought three more points to Toronto, who are motoring up the Eastern Conference table thanks to the $7-million-dollar man they acquired from Juventus in January.

COACH Frank Klopas (Montreal Impact): L'Impact have some catching up to do, having got off to a slow start - explained, one suspects, by their resolute focus on CONCACAF Champions League. But CCL is over and the team has to recover from opening the MLS season with just two points from its first five games. It now has 12 points from its last five games, thanks to two wins in Week 14. And one of those, against Columbus, was its first on the road in MLS since 2013. If this form - home and away - is sustainable, losing the CCL final might not be the high point of this season for Montreal.