- Columbus’ Andy Gruenebaum
Rationale, motive and intent: Don’t forget that Gruenebaum was No. 2 on the Crew depth chart to begin the year, but he’s doing everything asked of him in Columbus goal. Saturday’s 6-save night was huge in securing a point for Robert Warzycha’s team at Portland.
- Portland’s Futty Danso
- DC United’s Brandon McDonald
- Montreal’s Hassoun Camara
Rationale, motive and intent: All the fans want is goals around Jeld-Wen Field, or so they say – and we get it. On the other hand, they need more of what Danso brought in Saturday’s 0-0 shutout at home (against Columbus) as well. Timbers manager John Spencer has three quality center backs to choose from, but Danso’s Man of the Match-level performance might make him hard to displace for now.
McDonald assisted on both goals as D.C. United went into Canada and claimed all three points. That’s a big night for a center back. Camara and fellow center back Nelson Rivas did their parts as expansion Montreal worked the smash-and-grab from Sporting Kansas City.
- Vancouver’s Gershon Koffie (pictured)
- Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso
- New York’s Joel Lindpere
- Montreal’s Filipe Martins
- Chicago’s Marco Pappa
Rationale, motive and intent: Koffie is a highly skilled young player who is gradually adding real know-how and guile to his game. Alonso was at his ball-hawking best in shutout wins over Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Lindpere was all over the place on offense and defense in the Red Bulls’ gutsy road triumph over Los Angeles.
Finally, Martins’ massive, swell strike against Sporting Kansas City was every bit as sweet as Fredy Montero’s long range shot in mid-week or David Beckham’s long-distance dial-up a couple of weeks ago – but since it wasn’t from a glamour club, you don’t hear as much about it. Except here. See the goal below.
- San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski
- Seattle’s Fredy Montero
Rationale, motive and intent: Talking about Wondolowski, as they like to say, “The man cannot stop scoring.” Not in last week’s “Take that, Eastern Conference!” win over D.C. United, when Wonder Wondo picked up two goals. And not in the road test at Vancouver, when Earthquakes striker nearly gave his team a point with goal No. 11 for the season.
Montero hit that beauty against Los Angeles and followed up with a wonderful assist on the only goal in Saturday’s win over Philadelphia. He still doesn’t have big totals in 2012, but the man sure is punching like a prize fighter.