ProSoccerTalk’s Best XI from Week 26 in Major League Soccer includes a wily ol’ veteran who hit his first goal this year. And his second, too!
- Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando
Rationale, motive and intent: The U.S. international had four saves in an important win over D.C. United. (New England’s Matt Reis was huge in a weekend draw with Philadelphia. But allowing three in the previous match (which was also part of Week 26) makes the Revs’ vet a harder sell. Same for Revolution center back Stephen McCarthy, who was also quite strong in Saturday’s draw at home.)
- Portland’s Hanyer Mosquera
- Chicago’s Arne Friedrich
- New York’s Wilman Conde
- San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales
Rationale, motive and intent: Mosquera won almost every battle in the weekend win over Colorado, and that’s not easy when the other battler is a sledgehammer like Conor Casey. Friedrich and the rest of the Chicago Fire came within minutes of a clean sheet before Brian Ching got loose for a late strike in the Fire’s important 3-1 win over Houston.
Conde and Corrales both played left back. But both turned in impressive performances in storybook conditions. Conde was essentially an “experiement” as left back in Red Bulls’ match with D.C. United. So, who would have possibly thought he would get forward to nail the late equalizer with a stunning first-timer? And with his right foot of all things!
Corrales is no longer a first-choice starter for Frank Yallop at Buck Shaw. But what a night he had in spelling starter Justin Morrow. Corrales hit his first goal this year. And then his second! Both on free kicks, the second one a clever and sneaky effort as Chivas USA arranged its wall.
- Sporting Kansas City’s Paulo Nagamura
- L.A. Galaxy’s Juninho (pictured)
- Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso
- Philadelphia’s Brian Carroll
Rationale, motive and intent: A couple of guys just keep popping up on this list.
Juninho makes his second consecutive ProSoccerTalk Team of the Week appearance. Another goal for the Galaxy, and another high-rev overall performance in the Galaxy midfield highlighted a 2-0 win over Vancouver. Of course, for Juninho and the Los Angeles Galaxy, all of that is becoming known simply as a “Saturday.”
Nagamura may have been a little lucky with his bouncing goal in the 2-1, tougher-than-expected win over Toronto, but all of his hustle, bustle and quality work in midfield was hardly an accident.
Alonso put in the full shift’s worth of work in oppressive conditions, even if he did need to leave just a bit early (in the 78th minute) with a gash in his head. He and Brad Evans helped keep Dallas’ David Ferreira from being overly dangerous as the teams matched one goal each in Texas.
Carroll’s work is the kind that’s never really appreciated as it probably should be, positionally solid and extremely reliable in possession. But scoreless draws on the road (at New England in this case) don’t happen with contributions like his.
- Columbus’ Federico Higuain
- D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario
Rationale, motive and intent: Higuain is another making a repeat appearance here, thanks to another outstanding week for the Columbus Crew. That week included four assists evenly dispersed over a pair of Crew wins.
“De Ro” hit career goal No. 100 in a draw with New York (and assisted on his team’s other strike in the 2-2 draw.) Then he hit everything but the goal in a tough loss just three nights later at Real Salt Lake.