Toronto FC were officially eliminated from playoff contention after failing to hold on for three points against New York over the weekend, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to look forward to north of the border.
Three TFC players made it on Week 29's Team of the Week, including youngster Ashtone Morgan, who will play for Canada’s senior team later this week.
While two of the most exciting rookies to join the ranks this year — C.J. Sapong and Michael Farfan — continue to make their presence felt on MLSsoccer.com’s best XI, Columbus Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven returned with a bang, finding himself once again among the top performers in MLS on his first day back after an eight-match layoff.
GK: Milos Kocic (Toronto FC) — Check the injury report. Longtime pillar Stefan Frei is not on it, but Kocic continues to get the nod and the praise from his manager. The goalkeeping competition should make for interesting offseason hot stove.
DF: Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC) — Provided more evidence why the Canadian national team made him a surprise call-up for World Cup qualifying. Daring and relentless along the left flank, Morgan showed again why he can shine for TFC in Aron Winter’s system.
DF: Torsten Frings (Toronto FC) — Tough to understand why Winter would want to move him back into midfield when he impacts the match to a greater degree starting in central defense. NYRB had a tough time breaking down TFC.
DF: Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes) — Enterprising evening for Beitashour in a high-paced match vs. Sporting. Can run up and down the flank with the best of them and showed better quality in his decisions and passes.
MF: Michael Farfan (Philadelphia Union) — The former Tar Heel is making a serious case for Rookie of the Year honors after back-to-back matches with standout performances for the Union. Exuding the confidence to complement his skill, he’s a game-changer.
MF: Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew) — Nice to have you back, Eddie. That’s what Crew fans are saying after Gaven’s return from injury injected much-needed energy into what was a languishing side. His stunning diving header goal ensured a hard-earned three points in a come-from-behind effort.
MF: Juninho (LA Galaxy) — Covered lots of ground against Real Salt Lake, pushing up from his holding midfield role to keep the pressure on the visitors until the Galaxy claimed the lead.
MF: Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire) — Teases Fire fans again with a spectacular hat trick at Real Salt Lake, putting on display his full array of skills. Chicago need more where that came from in the season’s final stretch.
FW: Sébastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union) — Out of nowhere, the Frenchman is in the Golden Boot race with another two goals against D.C. United in midweek. Hard to see manager Peter Nowak move him from the forward spot now.
FW: C.J. Sapong (Sporting Kansas City) — He drew a PK against Columbus and single-handedly created the goal scored by teammate Teal Bunbury to equalize in San Jose. Another rookie who shows he can be a difference-maker.
FW: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders) — Proving to be Mr. Clutch for Seattle during the recent stretch of games. Punished Revs with a brace, rescuing the Sounders from another hole.
Manager: Gary Smith (Colorado Rapids) — After coming under fire for failing to travel with his club to El Salvador for a CONCACAF Champions League match, Smith proved that the midweek CCL victory really did boost his starting XI as they registered a tidy 1-0 league win over FC Dallas. The defending champs played with more energy, confidence and purpose than they had in recent months.
Honorable Mentions: Juan Pablo Ángel (Chivas USA), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy), Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Andy Najar (D.C. United), Matt Stinson (Toronto FC)