The Eastern Conference dominates the latest edition of MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week, with eight of the 11 selections coming from the top five teams in the conference. The Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls lead the way with two players each and the table-topping Union showcase the reigning Player of the Week.
The top two clubs in the other conference rounded out the numbers. A defender reps the LA Galaxy on the strength of two shutouts while FC Dallas are showing they are contenders with or without MVP David Ferreira.
GK: Greg Sutton (New York Red Bulls) – Eight saves against Colorado in midweek and several key plays in Vancouver justifies manager Hans Backe’s decision to play the Canadian in place of Bouna Coundoul.
DF: Ugo Ihemelu (FC Dallas) – His composure and calm under duress is a big reason why FC Dallas were able to get results on the road against two of the league's most dangerous attacking sides in Seattle and Houston.
DF: Dejan Jakovic (D.C. United) – Just before he leaves to join Canada for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the central defender shows why he has the potential to be one of the best in MLS. He has the physical and aerial abilities to keep up with any attacker in the league.
DF: Sean Franklin (LA Galaxy) – On a back line that features the likes of Omar Gonzalez, it may be easy to forget the contributions of Franklin, who made several key players in back-to-back shutouts for LA last week.
MF: Joel Lindpere (New York Red Bulls) – Throw in a midweek game, a cross-country trip and a position change and you still can’t throw the Estonian off his game. His powerful runs and tireless work on both sides of the ball will continue to be critical for an RBNY team that will miss several key elements.
MF: Brek Shea (FC Dallas) – He needs to sign a contract extension every year. Since penning his new deal a few weeks ago, there’s a renewed purpose to Shea's game and a belief that he can impose himself on matches and be decisive.
MF: Justin Mapp (Philadelphia Union) – Speaking of decisive. The Union’s winger has rarely been so sure of himself on the field of play, going right at goal in Toronto instead of making the extra pass or taking the extra dribble. This new-look Mapp, good for two goals, may be enough to spark a once dormant attack.
MF: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) – There is a strong argument that Davis is the league MVP thus far of the 2011 campaign. He continues to be a difference-maker for the Dynamo. Where would they be without him?
FW: Andrés Mendoza (Columbus Crew) – These are the kinds of performances the Crew expected when they made the Peruvian a Designated Player: goals, class and a sublime scoring touch. Is he capable of an encore?
FW: Luke Rodgers (New York Red Bulls) – The hustle and dedication never wanes in the diminutive striker. And the goals are also coming. He scored in each of the two games his team played last week and at this pace Juan Pablo Ángel is becoming a distant memory.
FW: Cam Weaver (Houston Dynamo) – We can begin talking about a breakout year for Weaver, who has already set a career high for goals with his tally against FC Dallas. No wonder Koke wanted out of Houston.
Manager: Peter Nowak (Philadelphia Union) – In Toronto we saw glimpses of the entertaining Union side from 2010 as they threw numbers forward and engaged in the quick passing combinations that ran teams ragged last year. But the 6-2 road win came without Guatemalan Carlos Ruiz. The natural question is now: how will Nowak integrate “Pescadito” in the lineup when he returns from the Gold Cup?
Honorable Mentions: Anthony Ampaipitakwong (San Jose Earthquakes), Blake Brettschneider (D.C. United), Davide Chiumiento (Vancouver Whitecaps), Ramiro Corrales (San Jose Earthquakes), Richard Eckersley (Toronto FC), Cory Gibbs (Chicago Fire), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Ante Jazic (Chivas USA), Stephen Keel (New York Red Bulls), Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Miguel López (LA Galaxy), Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia Union), Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City), Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
2011 TEAM OF THE WEEK MENTIONS (alphabetical order):
Goalkeepers: Stefan Frei (Week 7), Tally Hall (Week 2, Week 3), Kevin Hartman (Week 8, Week 9), Kasey Keller (Week 4), Dan Kennedy (Week 5), Matt Pickens (Week 10), Donovan Ricketts (Week 6), Nick Rimando (Week 1), Greg Sutton (Week 11);
Defenders: Corey Ashe (Week 7), Danleigh Borman (Week 4), Bobby Boswell (Week 4), Danny Califf (Week 1), Mamadou "Futty" Danso (Week 9), Michael Farfan (Week 10), Sean Franklin (Week 11), Omar Gonzalez (Week 3, Week 5), Andre Hainault (Week 9), Ugo Ihemelu (Week 8, Week 11), Dejan Jakovic (Week 11), George John (Week 9), Zach Loyd (Week 1), Chad Marshall (Week 2, Week 3, Week 4), Josip Mikulic (Week 6), Drew Moor (Week 2, Week 8), Jeff Parke (Week 1, Week 10), Heath Pearce (Week 6, Week 8), Tim Ream (Week 8), Alain Rochat (Week 2), A.J. Soares (Week 3), Jan Gunnar Solli (Week 6), Carlos Valdés (Week 7), Rodney Wallace (Week 5), Ethan White (Week 5), Sheanon Williams (Week 7), Marvell Wynne (Week 10);
Midfielders: Kalif Alhassan (Week 5), Osvaldo Alonso (Week 2), Kyle Beckerman (Week 1), David Beckham (Week 8), Geoff Cameron (Week 3), Servando Carrasco (Week 8), Brian Carroll (Week 2), Davide Chiumiento (Week 1), Keon Daniel (Week 7), Brad Davis (Week 4, Week 5, Week 7, Week 11), Simon Dawkins (Week 3), Dwayne De Rosario (Week 7), Brad Evans (Week 7), Julian de Guzman (Week 6), Landon Donovan (Week 6, Week 9), Dilly Duka (Week 5), Benny Feilhaber (Week 6), Álvaro Fernández (Week 9), David Ferreira (Week 4), Daniel Hernandez (Week 10), Ryan Johnson (Week 9), Shalrie Joseph (Week 3), Juninho (Week 1, Week 8), Nizar Khalfan (Week 4), Nick LaBrocca (Week 6, Week 9), Joel Lindpere (Week 10, Week 11), Justin Mapp (Week 11), Javier Morales (Week 2), Dominic Oduro (Week 10), Marco Pappa (Week 2), Chris Pontius (Week 5), Brek Shea (Week 11), Teemu Tainio (Week 1), Mikael Yourassowsky (Week 10), Steve Zakuani (Week 3, Week 4);
Forwards: Justin Braun (Week 9), Omar Bravo (Week 1), Will Bruin (Week 4, Week 7), Teal Bunbury (Week 3), Fabián Castillo (Week 9), Diego Cháves (Week 6), Marvin Chávez (Week 10), Omar Cummings (Week 1), Charlie Davies (Week 8), Caleb Folan (Week 3), Eric Hassli (Week 1), Tom Heinemann (Week 10), Thierry Henry (Week 5, Week 6, Week 8), Kei Kamara (Week 6), Steven Lenhart (Week 10), Javier Martina (Week 2), Andrés Mendoza (Week 11), Alejandro Moreno (Week 7), Paulo Jr. (Week 2), Jorge Perlaza (Week 5), Joao Plata (Week 8), Emilio Rentería (Week 7), Luke Rodgers (Week 5, Week 11), Mauro Rosales (Week 4), Camilo (Week 3), Cam Weaver (Week 11), O'Brian White (Week 4), Chris Wondolowski (Week 2, Week 9);
Managers: Hans Backe (Week 2), Robin Fraser (Week 6, Week 9), Dominic Kinnear (Week 7), Jason Kreis (Week 4), Peter Nowak (Week 11), Ben Olsen (Week 1), Gary Smith (Week 3, Week 8), Robert Warzycha (Week 5), Aron Winter (Week 10).