Three at the back again this week, and more than the usual amount of San Jose Earthquakes.
GK David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes): He was bailed out as much by his defenders and some poor finishing (particularly by D.C. United, who put just four of 23 shots on frame) as his own work, but credit any 'keeper who gets through a double-game week with two clean sheets. A 'keeper who secures clean sheets on the road in Kansas City and DC in the same week gets even more credit.
DEF Demar Phillips (Real Salt Lake): The foundation of RSL's clean-sheet win over Seattle was limiting the Sounders to just one shot on target. Phillips led his team in interceptions (seven) and clearances (also seven), as well as contributing 10 recoveries and two tackles.
DEF Maynor Figueroa (Colorado Rapids): Sadly for the Rapids, they won't be able to play the last-placed team in the East every week. But rebuilding for 2016 starts now, and defending a first-minute goal to eke out a 1-0 win on the road is decent performance - even if it is against a lackluster Chicago side. Figueroa suggested he might be worth keeping around for next season as he was a major contributor to a very busy defensive effort, leading his teammates in interceptions (six) and tackles (seven).
DEF David Horst (Houston Dynamo): The Dynamo let itself down by allowing Portland to sneak out of Week 25 with a draw despite falling behind by two goals. Still, the Timbers are tough opponents, especially at home: Houston did well to get a point. The whole back line worked hard, but Horst gets to represent his team thanks to 11 clearances and nine interceptions.
RM Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes): Scored twice and was instrumental in drawing a penalty (the speed with which he flicked the ball over to Quincy Amarikwa seemed to be the reason Chance Myers clumsily barreled into the Quakes' forward) against Sporting KC. Against D.C. United, he provided more conventional value, making runs that contributed to pulling the defense out of shape and creating just enough confusion and space for Chris Wondolowski and Shea Salinas to score.
CM Michael Bradley (Toronto FC): TFC beat Orlando 5-0 this week - an extremely important win for a team that had lost three of its last four games and seemed to be slipping into a fight to retain its foothold in the post-season. The rout owed much to home advantage and an early red card for OCSC's Rafael Ramos; the rest was mostly owed to Bradley, whose passing repeatedly and decisively picked Orlando's defense apart. Toronto's first goal came about because the Reds' captain picked the ball up at the halfway line and didn't give it back until he was on the edge of Orlando's six-yard box: Marky Delgado got the honor of firing in the opening goal from close range. Another unerring pass across the face of goal allowed Justin Morrow to tap in TFC's third. Bardley's long ball to Robbie Findley caused panic in OCSC's back line and resulted in a penalty (and the second red card suffered Orlando on the day) that Jozy Altidore knocked home for the fourth goal of the game. And he took the free kick that started the sequence leading to Altidore's second and Toronto's fifth. TFC needed a positive statement of the squad's mental readiness for the regular season run-in - and the captain led the way in delivering it.
CM Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes): It's hard not to notice Godoy's impact on his team - the Quakes' have won three straight without conceding a goal since he made his debut for them. Mlssoccer.com's Matt Doyle offers insight into the midfielder's contribution to San Jose's recent success. The goal he scored this week is largely incidental to his value to his new club.
LM Kwadwo Poku (NYC FC): "Poku fever grips New York" pants the promo headline for ESPN FC's piece on NYC FC's burgeoning attacking sensation. It's a worthwhile read, not only because it reveals writer Jeff Carlisle is intimidated by earrings, but because it describes how the 23-year-old Poku very nearly fell through the cracks of the US soccer development system. He seemed to be falling through the cracks at NYC FC too for much of this season, consigned largely to a substitute's role in which he provided spark but apparently not sufficient to nudge his head coach, Jason Kreis, into giving him a regular start. But he's increasingly hard to ignore, at least when NYC FC is playing well. This week, he scored twice against Columbus to further his claim to a spot in the lineup when Frank Lampard returns to fitness. And for that to happen, he may have to play on the left - which where he sits in this week's TotW. (We'll ignore his work in NYC FC's other game this week: the 5-1 drubbing by LA Galaxy.)
FWD Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes): This is the week Wondo tallied double-digit goals in the MLS regular season for the sixth consecutive year - the first time any player has done that in this league. It was also the week he scored his 100th career regular-season goal for San Jose and the week he reached 105 career regular-season goals in MLS. He has now edged past Dwayne De Rosario to claim sole possession of sixth place on the all-time MLS regular-season scoring chart. Most importantly, three goals in two games this week helped his team to six points that has put the Quakes back in contention for the playoffs.
FWD Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew): The Crew twice conceded two goals - and the lead - this week, requiring the attack to bail out what could have been an embarrassing slip-up in back-to-back home games. Instead, a 2-2 draw with NYC FC and a 3-2 win over Sporting KC gave Columbus four points out of six. Kamara contributed a goal and two assists to his team's cause.
COACH Dominic Kinnear (San Jose Earthquakes): His team didn't just win two road games this week, it won two road games against two of the best teams in MLS. Kinnear has rescued San Jose's year - giving the Quakes renewed hope of a playoff berth and at least restoring some interest to the last couple of months of their regular season - and he has done it by masterminding back-to-back victories over KC and DC, top-tier teams in MLS 2015.