The great individual performances in week 25 proves that the talent level in MLS is rapidly improving, and sooner than later the league will be up there with the best in Europe.
In a week overshadowed by Ryan Nelsen’s ousting in Toronto, there were sublime goals, dexterous defending and mouth-watering saves.
Here are the top ten players from week 25.
10. Clint Dempsey: The American captain is heating up at the right time. After propelling Seattle Sounders to a convincing 4-2 win against Cascadia rival Portland Timers, Deuce treated the Emerald City supporters to this magnificent volley.
That goal secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory and keeps Seattle at the top of the league for another week.
9. Alvas Powell: In his fourth start of the season, the young Jamaican full back showed his offensive potential by scoring the game-winning goal, his first in MLS, in a crucial Cascadia Cup clash against Vancouver Whitecaps. He also helped Donovan Ricketts keep a clean sheet.
8. David Horst: The highly-inconsistent center back delivered his best performance of the season, helping Houston Dynamo pick up huge three points on the road. On a very wet surface, Horst got his head on a tantalizing Brad Davis cross, leaving young goalkeeper Jon Kempin with little or no chance of making a save.
Horst was also solid on the defensive end, conceding only one goal against one of the most fluid attacks in MLS.
7. Omar Gonzalez: The towering center back contributed to his side’s surge up the table by putting in two solid shifts this week. First, he uncharacteristically scored a goal with his leg as LA Galaxy hammered D.C. United 4-2, and then he was a rock in the back, securing a clean sheet against Chivas USA.
6. Robbie Keane: In just 32 minutes, the legend shredded Chivas’ defense. In his short cameo, Keane was the best player on the pitch. He expertly picked out runners, chose his moment carefully and assisted the midfielders by dropping deep.
He capped off a memorable substitute appearance with a goal and an assist.
5. Gyasi Zardes: It’s only a matter of time before this kid gets a national team call-up. After failing to get on the score sheet against United, Zardes rebounded by scoring two goals in the final SuperClasico.
4. Ignacio Piatti: Montreal Impact won a game, all thanks to this man. The Designated Player introduced himself to the league by firing two goals past the red-hot Columbus Crew.
3. Robert Earnshaw: The former Welsh international made it two goals in two games against FC Dallas. Earnshaw’s 83rd minute goal, 20 minutes after he came on as a substitute, handed Dallas its first defeat since May.
2. Lee Nguyen: The deceptive midfielder is single-handedly propelling New England Revolution up the Eastern Conference table. Even though he wasn’t his clinical self – completed 64 percent of his passes – Nguyen found a way to affect the game. He scored a goal and made one as the Revolution won 3-0.
1. Landon Donovan: With the way the American legend has been playing, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was named the league’s MVP at the end of the season. The league’s all-time leading scorer continued his farewell tour by dominating two teams in week 25.
Against United, Donovan had a goal and a helper. His generosity rolled into the next game as he set up two goals in his final match against Chivas USA.
He only needs seven assists to break Steve Ralston’s record of 135 assists.
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