NEW YORK – Week Two of the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week features a brand new XI compared to the first edition. The team of MLSsoccer.com editors, who cover every minute of all the MLS action, give you the top players at their respective positions.
Once again employing a 3-4-3 formation, this week's squad features two Real Salt Lake players who figured prominently in their club's 4-1 dismantling of the LA Galaxy.
GK – Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo): Hall has a history of playing big matches against his hometown Sounders and came through again with more than a few sensational stops as the Houston goal was under siege.
DF – Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew): Luke Rodgers and Mehdi Ballouchy were easy prey for Marshall, who showed off his expert defensive skills and canceled out NYRB's attackers.
DF – Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids): Chivas USA barely tested the Rapids' goalkeeper largely in part to the efforts of a back line led by Moor, who is ready to be included in the discussion of elite defenders in MLS.
DF – Alain Rochat (Vancouver Whitecaps): Moved from left back to center back against the Union and was equally effective with his positioning, tactical acumen and timely challenges.
MF – Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders): Houston could not possess the ball partly because the Cuban was everywhere and snuffed out ball after ball. He also came close to scoring a few times.
MF – Brian Carroll (Philadelphia Union): After a down season in 2010, Carroll is reborn under his old DC coach. He was a central cog in everything the Union did against Vancouver.
MF – Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire): As the Guatemalan goes, so go the Fire. He had an inspired performance against KC with a sublime goal to boot.
FW – Paulo Jr. (Real Salt Lake): The buzz continues to grow around the young Brazilian who was dangerous with every ball he touched. Needs to see more time in 2011.
FW – Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes): Many doubted the 2010 Golden Boot winner could repeat. But elite finishing skills don't just disappear.
FW – Javier Martina (Toronto FC): He made the runs to put himself in position to score two fine goals. Arguably the most dangerous attacker under countrymate and manager Aron Winter.
Manager – Hans Backe (New York Red Bulls): Facing numerous important absences from his starting lineup, Backe assembled a squad featuring a new goalkeeper (Horwath, central defender (Keel) and forward (Rodgers) and used organization and shape to frustrate Columbus and earn a positive result.
Honorable Mentions: Jon Busch (San Jose), Josip Mikulic (Chicago), Jason Hernandez (San Jose), Shalrie Joseph (New England), Gastón Puerari (Chicago), Carlos Ruiz (Philadelphia), Steve Zakuani (Seattle)
2011 TEAM OF THE WEEK MENTIONS:
Goalkeepers: Tally Hall (Week 2), Nick Rimando (Week 1);
Defenders: Danny Califf (Week 1), Zach Loyd (Week 1), Chad Marshall (Week 2), Drew Moor (Week 2), Jeff Parke (Week 1), Alain Rochat (Week 2);
Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso (Week 2), Kyle Beckerman (Week 1), Brian Carroll (Week 2), Davide Chiumiento (Week 1), Juninho (Week 1), Javier Morales (Week 2), Marco Pappa (Week 2), Teemu Tainio (Week 1);
Forwards: Omar Bravo (Week 1), Omar Cummings (Week 1), Eric Hassli (Week 1), Javier Martina (Week 2), Paulo Jr. (Week 2), Chris Wondolowski (Week 2);
Managers: Hans Backe (Week 2), Ben Olsen (Week 1).