NEW YORK – Week 5 of the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week welcomes a host of new faces, with three debutants from the Portland Timbers, who won their first two home games last week.
Ethan White (D.C. United) and Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew) are the young guns of the group, while Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) and Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) are the only returning players.
GK – Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA): In a match in which the Chivas USA goal was peppered by Vancouver, Kennedy solidified his role as starter over Zach Thornton.
DF – Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy): Led the back line's shutout against Toronto FC in midweek and then helped extinguish a Fire attack that rarely threatened LA.
DF – Ethan White (D.C. United): His own coach calls the academy product a "beast." Ben Olsen has some decisions to make as far as his center back selections.
DF – Rodney Wallace (Portland Timbers): The big knock on Wallace is that he attacks too much. Well, this week he showed he can do double duty, scoring goals in consecutive games and canceling out Marvin Chavez.
MF – Chris Pontius (D.C. United): Good health and solid players ahead of him means that Pontius is back to being an attacking threat for DC. Not to mention he does a lot of dirty work in between shots at goal.
MF – Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew): It seemed inevitable from the start of the season that manager Robert Warzycha needed his youngster on the field for his unpredictable runs and touches. He provides an extra dimension to the Crew attack.
MF – Kalif Alhassan (Portland Timbers): Few probably paid attention to this player before last week. Skill, speed, hard work and exhilarating plays. If Wallace didn't take the shot, he had a goal of the year in the making.
MF – Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo): He singlehandedly picked apart the New England Revolution with service, free kicks and shows of sublime skill. Evergreen.
FW – Luke Rodgers (New York Red Bulls): Maybe a dose of Rodgers is all the Red Bull attack needed. His coach loves how "busy" he is and he makes the runs that Thierry Henry and Juan Agudelo do not.
FW – Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls): Fan controversy notwithstanding, he created and nearly finished a number of opportunities against a San Jose Earthquakes side that is usually stingy. Remains to be seen if this was a real breakthrough.
FW – Jorge Perlaza (Portland Timbers): He was due to break out and it took opening JELD-WEN Field for the speedy Colombian to light up the scoreboard. It was the dose of confidence he needed.
Manager – Robert Warzycha (Columbus Crew): Injuries and new faces are an easy excuse for a team to mail it in. The opposite is happening in Columbus, where they are running a tight ship in defense and are beginning to solve their issues in attack. Wasn't afraid to play Duka for the full 90 either and in the process discovered a player who will be decisive for his club's fortunes.
Honorable Mentions: Will Bruin (Houston), David Ferreira (FC Dallas), Jake Gleeson (Portland), Wes Knight (Vancouver), Jay Nolly (Vancouver), Jeff Parke (Seattle), Matt Reis (New England), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Cam Weaver (Houston), Ben Zemanski (Chivas USA)
2011 TEAM OF THE WEEK MENTIONS:
Goalkeepers: Tally Hall (Week 2, Week 3), Kasey Keller (Week 4), Dan Kennedy (Week 5), Nick Rimando (Week 1);
Defenders: Danleigh Borman (Week 4), Bobby Boswell (Week 4), Danny Califf (Week 1), Omar Gonzalez (Week 3, Week 5), Zach Loyd (Week 1), Chad Marshall (Week 2, Week 3, Week 4), Drew Moor (Week 2), Jeff Parke (Week 1), Alain Rochat (Week 2), A.J. Soares (Week 3), Rodney Wallace (Week 5), Ethan White (Week 5);
Midfielders: Kalif Alhassan (Week 5), Osvaldo Alonso (Week 2), Kyle Beckerman (Week 1), Geoff Cameron (Week 3), Brian Carroll (Week 2), Davide Chiumiento (Week 1), Brad Davis (Week 4, Week 5), Simon Dawkins (Week 3), Dilly Duka (Week 5), David Ferreira (Week 4), Shalrie Joseph (Week 3), Juninho (Week 1), Nizar Khalfan (Week 4), Javier Morales (Week 2), Marco Pappa (Week 2), Chris Pontius (Week 5), Teemu Tainio (Week 1), Steve Zakuani (Week 3, Week 4);
Forwards: Omar Bravo (Week 1), Will Bruin (Week 4), Teal Bunbury (Week 3), Omar Cummings (Week 1), Caleb Folan (Week 3), Eric Hassli (Week 1), Thierry Henry (Week 5), Javier Martina (Week 2), Paulo Jr. (Week 2), Jorge Perlaza (Week 5), Luke Rodgers (Week 5), Mauro Rosales (Week 4), Camilo (Week 3), O'Brian White (Week 4), Chris Wondolowski (Week 2);
Managers: Hans Backe (Week 2), Jason Kreis (Week 4), Ben Olsen (Week 1), Gary Smith (Week 3), Robert Warzycha (Week 5).