MLS: Week 17’s top performers

The 17th week of the 2014 MLS season had it all. They was great goalkeeping, fantastic defending, breath-taking goals and even better celebrations.

The return of USMNT stars coupled with the Fourth of July celebrations raised the league’s profile and thousands of fans came out to watch their home teams play.

There were so many great individual performances, but here are the 10 best from an unforgettable week.

10. Jackson (Toronto FC): The Brazilian hasn’t been at his best since he made the move Canada, but he delivered the goods this week. He started twice, scoring a goal and creating some dangerous chances.

9. Johnny Leveron (Vancouver Whitecaps): No Jay Demerit, no problem. Leveron stepped in for the injured center back and helped his team shutout the best team in the league.

Even though Seattle Sounders were without Obafemi Martins, Deandre Yedlin and Clint Dempsey, the starting lineup was packed with quality. Kenny Cooper, Chad Barrett and Lamar Neagle are proven goal-scorers.

Leveron recorded 13 clearances and four blocks in the rivalry game.

8. Jorge Villafana (Portland Timbers): Since he transferred from Chivas USA, Villafana has settled comfortably into Caleb Porters rotation. The fullback helped the Timbers secure a 2-2 draw against LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center.

The 24-year-old scored Portland’s second goal in the 70th minute.

7. Nick DeLeon (DC United): This year has been the rebirth of one of the most polarizing youngsters in league history. After falling off the grid last season, DeLeon is finally hitting his stride.

The midfielder was influential as United ended Toronto FC’s six-game unbeaten streak. He scored the game’s first goal and played well on the defensive end.

6. Carlos Bocanegra (Chivas USA): The veteran goalkeeper was an absolute beast in the back. Chivas didn’t concede in the two games they played this week, extending their shutout streak to three.

His leadership was crucial in securing two victories that puts Chivas back in the playoff picture.

Bradley Wright-Phillips

Bradley Wright-Phillips

5. Matias Laba (Vancouver Whitecaps): The young holding midfielder had it easy because Seattle’s regular central midfielders didn’t play. He was magnificent as he controlled the midfield and made some timely and effective tackles.

4. Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire): Without Johnson, the Fire wouldn’t have stolen a point from Sporting Kansas City. The American international made eight saves including a double save in the dying minutes of the game.

3. Clint Irwin (Colorado Rapids): Just like Johnson, Irwin was the reason why his team didn’t drop all three points. The underrated ‘keeper made seven saves as the Rapids tied Columbus Crew. If Dillon Powers had been cautious with the ball, he wouldn’t have conceded a goal.

2. Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls): The leading candidate for the Budweiser Golden Boot award enjoys playing against the Houston Dynamo. He scored twice against Tally Hall on the Fourth of July. He has five goals against Houston from just two games.

1 Erick Torres (Chivas USA): The Mexican should consider changing his name to Erick “Phenomenal” Torres. Because of his two game-winners Chivas picked up six valuable points. He was particularly exceptional against the Montreal Impact, scoring this amazing bicycle kick.

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