The 24th week of the 2014 MLS season belonged to the superstars. The league’s most prominent players were on top of their games, while some lesser-known players produced moments of sheer brilliance.
Here are MatchDay 24’s top ten performers.
10. Steve Birnbaum: The rookie is fitting in nicely alongside All-Star Bobby Boswell. Going up against the likes of Graham Zusi and Dom Dwyer, Birnbaum kept his cool as helped D.C. United rout Sporting Kansas City. He made 11 effective tackles, three interceptions and three tackles.
9. Michael Parkhurst: Moments after it was announced that his partner Giancarlo Gonzalez was headed to Italy, Parkhurst stepped out on the pitch and led a spirited performance against the Houston Dynamo. The American international completed a staggering 98 percent of his passes and made seven effective clearances.
8. Andrew Wenger: The 23-year-old forward had his best game in MLS on Sunday. The former Montreal Impact man was deadly on the counter, scoring two clinically taken goals. His movement was sharp, he connected well with his teammates for the first time in his three-year career, he actually looked like a decent striker.
7. Perry Kitchen: The highly-rated defensive midfielder delivered at the crucial moment. In a game with Supporters’ Shield implications, Kitchen stood tall and kept SKC’s prolific midfielders at bay. He intercepted three passes and made two tackles.
He also contributed on the offensive end by scoring United’s third goal.
6. Bradley Wright-Phillips: BWP ending up outside of the top five tells you how star-studded this list is. The New York Red Bulls forward made history this weekend by breaking the club’s single-season scoring record. His movement off the ball tore apart Montreal’s defense and after been expertly picked out by Thierry Henry and Peguy Luyindula, he made no mistake with his finishes.
5. Sebastien Le Toux: Let the “Sebastien Le Toux for MVP” talks begin. The French forward (plays out wide for the Philadelphia Union) was involved in each of the four goals scored by his team. His adroitness on fast breaks were on display as he set up Wenger twice and he also showed that his set pieces aren’t too shabby with a delightful ball that was tucked away by Sheanon Williams.
Le Toux scored a goal to raise his season tally to 11.
4. Robbie Keane: The captain played a big part in LA Galaxy picking up six points in week 24. On the road at Colorado, Keane scored a goal and sent Landon Donovan in on goal to complete one of the biggest comebacks of the year.
Even though Keane was misfiring against Vancouver Whitecaps, he still inadvertently set up two goals.
3. Landon Donovan: The American legend’s farewell tour has been a memorable one so far. In week 24, Donovan proved to his critics that he is still capable of scoring the big goals.
The 31-year-old broke Colorado Rapids’ heart when he dashed in behind the defense and scored the winning goal in a 4-3 thriller.
A few days later, it only took him a couple of minutes to get on the score sheet against Vancouver. That goal was also the game-winner.
2. Thierry Henry: Most might be shocked that the French legend isn’t the top player, but they should take into consideration that he was going up against the worst team in the league.
Henry was superb against Montreal. He scored two fantastic goals – one with his head and the other with his trademark far post finish – and put the ball on a platter for BWP to score his 19th of the season.
1. Obafemi Martins: Those who believe that Clint Dempsey is Seattle Sounders’ best player at wrong. Martins is the top man in Seattle. Without him the Sounders will not be leading the Supporters’ Shield race.
In a disappointing 1-1 draw against San Jose Earthquakes, Martins orchestrated the attack that led to Seattle’s only goal.
In the biggest rivalry game in MLS, Martins showed up and stole the spotlight. He scored two well-taken goals and assisted one as Seattle hammered Portland Timbers 4-2 at the Providence Park.
All stats via Whoscored.com.
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