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2017 MLS Team of Week 2: Tim Howard leads the way

A memorable effort in a losing cause from Tim Howard heads up this week's MLS TotW performances.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

A perhaps misguided determination to field a true back four for this week sees a lot of deserving attacking players left out of the team in favor of a balanced defense. Calling this lineup a 4-3-3.

GK - Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids):

It's fashionable to reward a winning effort with TotW mentions, but Howard's seven-save shift against RBNY kept his team in a game that should have been out of reach by half-time. The Rapids lost, but Howard can hold his head high after a superb performance in goal.

RB - Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes):

The rookie right-back followed last week's MLS debut with his first league goal this week. His Quakes have won two out of two league games, and Lima has a jump on the field in this year's Rookie of the Year race.

CB - Roy Miller (Portland Timbers):

MLS media is primed to seize on Miller's first mistake, since he carved out a (not entirely deserved) reputation as a hapless, error-prone defender during his time with the New York Red Bulls. But Miller also racked up 140 appearances over six seasons of relative success for RBNY, and he was a regular national-teamer for Costa Rica in that time.

His experience, versatility, and yes, consistency are the reasons why Caleb Porter has Miller back in MLS. And Miller's debut for Portland coincided in its first regular-season road win in more than a year. Five interceptions and two blocked shots were his notable contributions to the Timbers' first clean sheet of the season.

CB - Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls):

He has played every minute of RBNY's season so far. His status as the preferred starter at center back for the Red Bulls was highlighted this week when head coach Jesse Marsch platooned senior CBs Damien Perrinelle and Aurelien Collin for the match against Colorado, while Long played the full 90.

A disciplined showing from the RBNY back line limited the Rapids to one shot and target and helped a single goal stand up as the match-winner for the Red Bulls.

LB - Aaron Guillen (FC Dallas)

FCD sent a mostly second team out against Sporting Kansas City, as it has eyes on the CONCACAF Champions League prize still available to it. The reserves did their job, coming back from KC with a point. Consider Guillen representative of FCD's second-string's successful effort to help the team out in the league while the first-teamers focus on CCL.

MID - Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire):

McCarty won a lot of attention and praise for his performance in the Fire's 2-0 win over RSL this week. His contentious off-season trade from RBNY to Chicago appears to have triggered a fresh wave of Dax appreciation, with almost his every move applauded in a way that didn't seem to happen nearly as often when he was Red Bull.

But McCarty is not undeserving of the recognition. He is one of the better players of his position in MLS, and he was one of the better players in the league overall this week.

MID - Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United):

The 23-year-old Paraguayan has not been a high-volume scorer to date in his career, but maybe that changes in MLS, where he is at the center of a goal-greedy Atlanta attack. After his part in his team's blitzing of Minnesota United this week, he's two goals and an assist into what could be a very productive season for him.

MID - Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes):

For the second week in a row, the Quakes are celebrating a win after Godoy found time away from his midfield duties to score one of the more memorable goals of the young season.

FWD - Rodney Wallace (New York City FC):

Did the hard work of breaking D.C. United with an instrumental role in NYCFC's two opening goals (he scored the first himself after giving Jack Harrison first crack at finding the net).

FWD - Josef Martinez (Atlanta United):

If you're wondering why Trinidad and Tobago international Kenwyne Jones can't get a start for Atlanta, it is because Martinez is better suited to a team that wants to torture opponents with its speed and mobility. He won't score a hat-trick every week, but he did this time around and he will get a lot of chances to do so again in front of Atlanta's lively and creative midfield.

FWD - David Villa (NYCFC):

Two goals and an assist is the sort of weekly return NYCFC is paying David Villa for, and he seems an obliging sort of man. Against DCU, he duly produced the eye-catching contribution to the score sheet expected of him.

COACH - Caleb Porter (Portland Timbers):

There were bigger wins in MLS this week, but Portland's 1-0 result in LA was significant to helping a team that missed the playoffs (in part) through a dreadful road record conquer one of its demons at the first attempt in 2017. The Timbers still have 32 regular season games to play, but they've won the first two of the new campaign. And after winning 5-1 at home in Week 1, a narrow away win was perhaps what the team needed to prove it can turn the narrowest margin into maximum points.