New York’s Ryan Meara
Rationale, motive and intent: The rookie ‘keeper is repaying Hans Backe’s tremendous faith. Meara was composed and clean late as New England pressed for an equalizer.
Vancouver’s Lee Young-Pyo
FC Dallas’ George John
Montreal’s Shavar Thomas
Colorado’s Luis Zupata
Rationale, motive and intent: Vancouver’s first-year right back is proving to be quite a find. The Whitecaps’ six goals allowed is among the league’s best. Colorado winter acquisition Luis Zupata has quickly inserted himself into the conversations of “best left back in MLS.” His part in a 4-0 win over Chivas USA was the latest in a string of strong performances for Oscar Pareja’s team. Thomas was important in dealing with Portland’s Kris Boyd on Saturday as Montreal won for the second time this year. John is gaining form now that he’s playing more regularly for F.C. Dallas.
Colorado’s Brian Mullan
Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman
New York’s Dax McCarty
D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario
Rationale, motive and intent: De Rosario has long wanted a DP contract. Now that he has one, United’s main midfield threat is doing more than enough to prove deserving. Never mind the lack of goals so far; those will come. In the meantime his playmaking and ability to break down defenses on the dribble is a big part of United’s seven-game unbeaten run. Mullan, 34, turned back the clock with the kind of all-over-the-field night that were once regular things. McCarty’s night has been discussed previously here. As for Beckerman, he’s been as regular as anyone in this space.
San Jose’s Steven Lenhart
D.C. United’s Maicon Santos
Rationale, motive and intent: Lenhart is often more agitator and instigator than actual goal scorer. So a two-goal night is big doins’ for the Earthquakes’ striker, who took some of the offensive burden off Chris Wondolowski for one evening. Santos now has six goals for United, fourth-best in MLS.