Andrew Farrell

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 26

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Week 26 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season came and went over the weekend, and it’s safe to say that as the calendar turns from August to September, the cream is really starting to rise to the top.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 26 MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

On the weekend, just three of the eight teams currently not occupying a playoff place defeated a side currently occupying a playoff place — and of those three, two of them (San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo) are either tied for or within three points of the Western Conference’s final playoff place.

[ WEEK 26: SEA 2-1 POR | RBNY 3-0 DCU | TFC 2-1 MTL | NYC 1-2 CLB | FCD 2-0 RSL | COL 2-1 SKC ]

As such, the Week 26 MLS Team of the Week awards just one spot to a player — Colorado Rapids’ Vicente Sanchez — from a team not within touching distance of a playoff place. Everywhere else you look, there’s standout performances from the New York Red Bulls (Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sacha Kljestan and Mike Grella), the Dynamo (Raul Rodriguez and David Horst), Columbus Crew SC (Federico Higuain and Michael Parkhurst) and Toronto FC (Michael Bradley) all over the place. There’s also D.C. United’s Bill Hamid, because without him, United quite literally would have lost to the Red Bulls by a score of 8-0.

Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always. I’m not afraid to defend my picks.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS Team of the Week archive ]

MLS Team of the Week — Week 26

Goalkeeper: Bill Hamid (D.C. United)

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Defenders: Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew SC), Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution), Raul Rodriguez (Houston Dynamo), David Horst (Houston Dynamo)

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Midfielders: Vicente Sanchez (Colorado Rapids), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Mike Grella (New York Red Bulls)

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Forwards: Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), Federico Higuain (Columbus Crew SC)

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MLS Snapshot: New England Revolution 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps

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The game in 100 words (or less): Sometimes a game is all wrapped up before it reaches the half-hour mark. Particularly when one side has conceded a pair of goals and had a man sent off before the two-thirds points of the first half. When the Vancouver Whitecaps took a 2-0 lead and a man advantage in the 30th minute, their victory over the New England Revolution was a foregone conclusion. Without Jermaine Jones in the lineup (sports hernia operation), the Revolution looked direction-less and uninspired once again. They’re still second in the Eastern Conference (because who is going to catch them?), but there’s a distinct “Jermaine or nothing” vibe to this team. Meanwhile, the Whitecaps are very much alive in the Supporters’ Shield race, three points behind D.C. United with two games in hand.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of Week 17 ]

Three moments that mattered

18′ — Techera pounces on a mistake in the box — Mauro Rosales sent the right-sided cross into the Revs’ penalty area, where London Woodberry attempted a cushioned header to teammate Scott Caldwell, but missed his target badly. Cristian Techera was lurking close by and pounced on the loose ball and put the ‘Caps on the board.

29′ — PK, red card after Farrell takes down Techera — Andrew Farrell, somehow, caught up to Techera inside the Revs’ penalty area, but upon doing so wrapped his arm around the diminutive Uruguayan who went down to draw the penalty. Farrell was sent off for denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

31′ — Rivero converts the PK, gives ‘Caps 2-0 lead — Octavio Rivero stepped up to the penalty spot, where he bagged his seventh goal of the season and his first since May 9.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Cristian Techera — Not only did he score the game’s opening goal, but Techera was quite the nightmare for the entire Revs backline all night long, as evidenced in winning the penalty and getting Farrell sent off.

LINEUPS

New England Revolution: Shuttleworth, Woodberry (Alston 46′), Farrell, Goncalves, Tierney, Kobayashi (Rowe 62′), Caldwell, Bunbury, Nguyen (Agudelo 77′), Fagundez, Davies

Goals: Bunbury (84′)

Vancouver Whitecaps: Ousted, Beitashour, Parker, Kah, Harvey, Laba, Flores, Techera, Rosales, Manneh (Mattocks 74′), Rivero (Hurtado 79′)

Goals: Techera (18′), Rivero (31′)

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 15

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Week 15 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is in the books, and though there were only five games over the weekend — what international window? — we weren’t short of standout performers, or goals, on Saturday and Sunday night.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 15 MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

David Villa showed Saturday night that, when healthy, he’s still going to be a destructive force to be reckoned with (1 goal, 1 assist), while his NYCFC teammate Kwadwo Poku was busy leaving his fingerprints all over the game despite playing just 15 minutes (1 goal, 1 assist). Elsewhere, Diego Fagundez bagged the undisputed Goal of the Week, and Robbie Rogers was a handful going forward and could have scored a time or two from the left back position.

Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always. I’m not afraid to defend my picks.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS Team of the Week archive ]

MLS Team of the Week — Week 15

Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders)

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Defenders: Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution), Robbie Rogers (LA Galaxy), Aurelien Collin (Orlando City SC), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders)

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Midfielders: Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew SC), Scott Caldwell (New England Revolution), Kwadwo Poku (New York City FC)

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Forwards: David Villa (New York City FC), Lamar Neagle (Seattle Sounders)

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MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 13

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Week 13 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season is in the books, and whether or not you can actually believe it, that means we’re approaching the halfway point of the season.

In the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at the Best XI from the 2015 MLS season, doing so with a little help from the first 17 Teams of the Week. For now, though, we keep plugging away week by week by week until Week 17 is in the books.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 10 MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

30 goals in 10 games from Friday to Sunday (plus another three in three games on Wednesday) makes Week 13 one of the highest-scoring weeks of the season.

Without further comment, I present to you my Week 13 MLS Team of the Week.

Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always. I’m not afraid to defend my picks.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS Team of the Week archive ]

MLS Team of the Week — Week 13

Goalkeeper: Bill Hamid (D.C. United)

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Defenders: Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Kevin Ellis (Sporting Kansas City), Eriq Zavaleta (Toronto FC), Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution)

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Midfielders: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Marco Pappa (Seattle Sounders), Gershon Koffie (Vancouver Whitecaps), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew SC)

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Forwards: Krisztian Nemeth (Sporting Kansas City), Kennedy Igboananike (Chicago Fire)

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Looking back: The top breakout players of the 2014 MLS season

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Every season finds a bevy of players surging toward the realization of their potential, and MLS had a number who made the impacts felt in 2014.

It was hard to knock the field down, and some big names fell along the way (though we provided an “honorable mention” list for their and our egos).

In no particular order, we present 11 names — seven who broke free and four who just missed — as our top advancers of MLS 2014.

[ MLS: Busy day in transactions, rounded up ]

– Matt Hedges, D, FC Dallas — The Rochester native was a physical presence in his own end and an effective force at the other end. Solid in possession and a leader, the 24-year-old UNC product is due for a look from Jurgen Klinsmann. We’d be shocked if that doesn’t happen in January.

– Perry Kitchen, M, DC United — Finally found more finish with a career-high five goals, and allowed a lot of us to forget he’s merely 22 years of age. Kitchen was the only player in MLS history to lead his team in minutes as a rookie in 2011. He was 19, by the way. I quit.

– Bradley Wright-Phillips, F, Red Bulls — It’s easy to forget that BWP scored just once in 7 MLS appearances last season after a pair of disappointing English seasons for Brentford and Charlton Athletic. But he’s moved past a seedy reputation overseas to start bagging goals again, tying the single-season record for Major League Soccer.

source: Getty Images– Tony Tchani, M, Columbus — Steady as you’d like with bruising capabilities and elite athleticism, Tchani probably didn’t get the love he deserved for a brilliant season with the Crew. We noticed, Tony. We noticed.

– Eric Alexander, M, Red Bulls — Raise your hand if you appeared in 40 games as a field player this season. If you’re not Alexander, your hand better not be raised. Yes, the 26-year-old has had success in the past and 2013 was a strong debut year, but his sophomore campaign in New York was a notch higher.

– David Ousted, GK, Vancouver — Seized the starting role under Carl Robinson, and the rookie boss couldn’t have taken it back if he wanted. The 29-year-old Dane was outstanding in the ‘Caps successful late-season run to hold off Portland for the West’s final spot.

– Gyasi Zardes, F, Los Angeles —  When he was signed as a Homegrown player out of Cal State Bakersfield and posted four goals as a rookie, few saw this level of production: 19 goals in 35 appearances. Now can he do it sans Landon Donovan in 2015? We wouldn’t bet against him.

Honorably mentioned: Lee Nguyen (we knew he was crafty), Erick “Cubo” Torres (really broke out last year), Andrew Farrell (Steady enough as a rookie in 2013), Harrison Shipp (Broke out, then cooled off),