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MLS Team of the Week: Decision Day Heroics

MLS Team Of The Week

On decision day several teams had players show up in a big way to make a difference in the all-important final game of the season. FC Dallas had three players make the team after their fantastic 5-1 win over LA Galaxy, despite it not being enough to make the playoffs. Philadelphia Union have landed two players in after they handily defeated Orlando City SC 6-1, with each of their featured players netting a brace. San Jose Earthquakes also had two players make the team thanks to some spectacular performances in their playoff-clinching 3-2 win over Minnesota United FC. Columbus Crew SC, Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls, and New York City FC all have a player feature to round out the team.

GK – Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)

– Despite allowing two pretty spectacular goals from one of the best players in the MLS, David Villa, Zack Steffen put on a pretty good show. Otherwise holding off the rest of NYCFC’s attack, Steffen made seven saves throughout the game, managing to save a David Villa penalty that would’ve lost Columbus the game had it gone in. He’ll be needing to put up some more good performances if the Crew want to advance through the playoffs.

DF – Leonoardo (Houston Dynamo)

– Scoring the first goal in the Dynamo’s route of the Fire, Leonardo also assisted Romell Quioto’s spectacular goal. With spectacular overlapping play and presence in the box during set pieces, Leonardo was an important piece in the Dynamo’s attack. If he can put up a few more influential performances like this, the Dynamo will have a lot less to worry about in front of the net during the playoffs.

DF – Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)

– With a fantastic goal in the first half, and a spectacular defensive performance that helped Dallas contain the Galaxy’s potent attack to a mere three shots on goal, captain Matt Hedges showed why he is a player that can be relied upon in this struggling Dallas team. This performance was enough to help Dallas to a huge 5-1 win over the Galaxy that ultimately wasn’t enough to earn them a spot in the playoffs, but it certainly earned him a spot on this team.

DF – Michael Murillo (New York Red Bulls)

– With a fantastic finish, and passing in the build-up leading to the goal, Michael Murillo showed that he is just as useful in the leading up to and in front of goal as he is in a more defensive position. Also a big reason in why DC were limited to three total shots on goal, Murillo showed up to play a complete performance, and that is exactly what he gave in the Red Bulls’ win over DC United.

MF – Ilsinho (Philadelphia Union)

– Two goals and an assist easily land Ilsinho a spot on this week’s team. Ilsinho was a huge part in the Union’s total domination of Orlando City SC. His first goal was class, his assist was just as nice, but the run he made from the half-way line for the second goal was a spectacular display of his drive and athleticism. The finish was decent as well. All around an easy pick for the team.

MF – Roland Lamah (FC Dallas)

– Putting up a goal on either side of the half, Roland Lamah once again proved to be a pivotal piece of the Dallas attack. Bringing his tally up to eleven goals for the season, if Lamah can more consistently find the net next season, then he has the potential to be the best player on the team. With his fantastic pace down the wing, and his ability to play a more central attacking midfield role, his dynamic ability in build-up and in front of the net have earned him his place on this week’s team.

MF – Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas)

– With two assists and a well-struck penalty to round off his performance, Mauro Diaz showed a glimpse of his pre-injury capability. Since returning from his injury during the playoffs last season, Diaz has struggled to find his place in a team that had learned how to cope without his magisterial performances, but it must have finally clicked for them as Diaz delivered easily his best performance of the season to make help Dallas to a huge 5-1 win over the Galaxy and also make this team with a bit of ease.

MF – Fabrice Picault (Philadelphia Union)

– A commanding header to put his name on the scorecard and double the Union’s lead wasn’t a bad way to start the game, but his assist of C.J. Sapong’s first goal was a superb display of athleticism and coordination. His beautiful sprint to capitalize on a defending error and score his second goal was fantastic to watch, and really helps to shine a bright light on the capabilities of this Union team. He and Ilsinho were easy choices for this team, and if they can both continue producing then the Union might be able to put forward a surprise in the playoffs.

FW – Danny Hoesen (San Jose Earthquakes)

– Displaying fantastic talent to beat two defenders to a wonderful lobbed pass from the back-line, Hoesen then applied a smart finish past the Minnesota keeper to score the first goal of the night. This sort of presence of mind to commit to beating the defenders in the manner he did will be a great help to the Earthquakes in the playoffs should he continue to play like this. His assist of Wondolowski’s goal was spectacular too, highlighting his capabilities out wide to add a more dynamic approach to goal.

FW – David Villa (New York City FC)

– With two brilliant goals in the draw against the Crew, David villa brought himself within two goals of the eventual golden boot winner Nemanja Nikolic’s 24 goals this season. He would’ve had a hat trick too had it not been for Crew keeper Zack Steffen. Villa will need to continue his game-winning performances throughout the season if NYCFC are going to stand a chance of winning the MLS Cup.

FW – Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

– With a huge goal to put the Earthquakes back ahead early in the second half, Chris Wondolowski continued his tradition of showing up big in moments where it really matters. Tack that on to his game-winning assist of Marcos Urena’s goal, and you have a player that can change the outcome of a game with his performances when it really matters. With his experience, he should be able to help the Earthquakes step up and do something big during the playoffs.