Planet Fútbol MLS Best XI: Week 7
For the first time in April, the best individual performance of an MLS week didn’t come from Clint Dempsey. This week’s top individual is also a member of the U.S. men's national team, though, with Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando justifying his repeated call-ups by Jurgen Klinsmann yet again.
Rimando's role in RSL's 1-0 win over Portland earned him Best XI recognition during a week in which one player, Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer, managed to score multiple goals. But who else made the cut?
Here is the Planet Fútbol MLS Best XI for Week 7:
Planet Fútbol MLS Best XI — Week 7
• Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Jeff Attinella did well in Rimando’s absence (even making the Best XI once), but Saturday showed that there is no replacement for the RSL No. 1. Without his performance, his team wouldn’t have defeated Portland, and he is now one clean sheet shy of tying Kevin Hartman's league record of 112.
• Defender: David Horst (Houston Dynamo)
Time after time, Philadelphia pumped balls over the top — and time after time, Horst was there to cut them out. His aerial ability was on full display upon his return from a red-card suspension.
• Defender: Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City)
It’s not often a center back is involved in scoring multiple goals in a game. Collin created Kansas City’s first by challenging on a long throw, scored the second on a knockdown and created a diversion for Dom Dwyer on the third with a dummy run.
• Defender: Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)
Hedges scored and assisted, both with his head, in Dallas’ 2-1 win over Toronto FC on Saturday. He also played well in his expected role in defense, capping a complete performance.
• Midfielder: Juninho (L.A. Galaxy)
Juninho held in front of L.A.’s center backs against Vancouver on Saturday, recovering 11 loose balls and intercepting four passes. He also completed 50 of 55 attempted passes, springing attacks from the base of the Galaxy’s diamond midfield.
• Midfielder: Leandro Barrera (Chivas USA)
The Chivas winger cut inside from the left all game long, drawing the early penalty that gave his team the lead and matching the speedy DeAndre Yedlin stride for stride.
• Midfielder: Vincent Nogueira (Philadelphia Union)
Nogueira was consistently dangerous again, particularly against New York on Wednesday. He always seems to be in the right spaces, making runs into areas between defenders and looking for the ball at his feet.
• Midfielder: Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City)
As usual, Feilhaber’s vision was his best attribute in Sporting’s 4-0 win over Montreal. Besides his hard-working nature, Feilhaber has an ability that not many in the league possess to see and play passes.
• Midfielder: Eric Alexander (New York Red Bulls)
Alexander sparked the Red Bulls' first win of the season, setting up a pair of goals in the 2-1 midweek triumph over Philadelphia. His combination with Roy Miller for the secondary assist on Thierry Henry's goal was especially sly, and he provided a decisiveness out of the midfield the Red Bulls had been lacking.
• Forward: Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Mattocks scored a goal borne of pure work ethic against L.A., hassling Leonardo and Jaime Penedo into spilling a ball that he put home. He’s turned into a more complete forward this year, combining better with his teammates and becoming less selfish with the ball.
• Forward: Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City)
Half of Kansas City’s goals came off Dwyer’s foot on Saturday. The emerging standout has been a pest for opponents recently, and he turned in another energetic performance against Montreal that earned him a brace.
Player of the Week: Nick Rimando
Most players take some time getting back into top form after suffering injuries, but Rimando came through his first test with top marks on Saturday.
He made a big save in the first half on Darlington Nagbe, keeping the match with Portland scoreless. After RSL took a 1-0 lead, he made saves in the last five minutes on Alvas Powell and Gastón Fernández that were progressively better than his previous efforts. Rimando was also good off his line, controlling his penalty area as usual despite his shorter stature. His performances this year once again beg the question: how has he never won MLS Goalkeeper of the Year?