With the playoffs only a couple of weeks away, MLS teams are buckling down and doing whatever it takes to get a positive result. The league’s parity was on display in week 22 as multiple underdogs stunned the league’s “big dogs.”
Here are the top ten players from week 22.
10. Luis Robles: Despite New York Red Bulls’ 1 nil defeat to Eastern Conference strugglers Chicago Fire, Robles had another stellar game. The 30-year-old goalkeeper made five saves, including a penalty kick. The only flaw in his performance was his decision to parry the spot kick into Mike Magee’s path.
9. Pedro Morales: The All-Star snub led a spirited Vancouver Whitecaps side against Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City. Despite only playing 76 minutes, the Chilean maestro was the game’s Man of the Match.
He had four successful dribbles and made three key passes, including his meticulous game-winning assist.
8. Javier Morales: In 67 minutes, Morales tore apart DC’s defense. The 34-year-old completed 93 percent of his passes and set up two goals.
7. Diego Valeri: This man can’t stop scoring. Against Chivas USA, the Argentine playmaker extended his scoring streak to four games, becoming the first Portland Timber score in four consecutive matches.
He also tied Darlington Nagbe as the club’s all-time leading scorer – 17 goals — since they joined MLS.
6. Matt Hedges: The talented center back was a beast as FC Dallas routed Colorado Rapid. He opened the scoring in a game that Dallas would go on to win 3-1.
According to Whoscored.com, Hedges completed 90 percent of his passes, won all his aerial duels and led the team in interceptions, four, and clearances, 12. One of his clearances prevented the ball from rolling into an empty net.
5. Chris Wondolowski: There’s a reason why the San Jose Earthquakes talisman holds the single-season scoring record. The US international put on a clinic as San Jose tied LA Galaxy 2-2.
Wondolowski opened the scoring early in the first half. After he was nicely picked out on a fast break, “Wondo” intelligently baited his defender, cut inside and clinically placed his shot in the far post from a very tight angle.
His ability to combine effectively with second runners in the final third paid off on San Jose’s second goal. Again on a fast break, Wondo made an exquisite run and brilliantly picked out his new teammate Matías Pérez García with a sublime flick.
4. Chris Schuler: When a center back scores two goals, you take notice. Schuler’s offensive outburst helped Real Salt Lake rout DC United 3-0. In addition to being a two-goal hero, the towering defender performed his defensive duties expertly.
He made one tackle, three effective clearances and one interception.
3. Sebastian Le Toux: The French forward’s brilliant season continued on Saturday against Montreal Impact. His two goals lifted Philadelphia Union into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The former Red Bulls attacker took advantage of Montreal’s defensive frailties twice, and came close to scoring a third.
2. Luke Moore: The ex-Swansea City forward has found a home in Toronto. In a five-goal thriller, Moore was the standout performer.
He was a nightmare for Columbus Crew defenders for 89 minutes and his cracking header turned out to be the game-winner. He also set up Gilberto and Jonathan Osorio’s goals.
1. Nick Rimando: Three days after his outstanding showing in the All-Star game, Rimando set the record for most clean sheets in MLS history. The 35-year-old only had to stop 2 shots against DC for the 113th shutout of his illustrious career.
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