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Starry nights: MLS Team of the Week – Round 31

Oct 8, 2012, 7:15 PM EDT

Chicago Fire v New York Red Bulls Getty Images


  • FC Dallas’ Kevin Hartman

Rationale, motive and intent: Hartman contributed seven huge saves, each as valuable as the other (and a couple to be stamped “spectacular”) as he single-handedly kept a little playoff breath going in the FC Dallas body. They are just barely in the hunt – but he did his part and then some.

Back line:

  • Real Salt Lake’s Nat Borchers
  • Chicago’s Arne Friedrich (pictured)
  • Philadelphia’s Carlos Valdes

Rationale, motive and intent:

Borchers helped settle things down and then forcefully lock things down for Real Salt Lake after the visitors were nearly overrun in the first 20 minutes by the sizzling Galaxy.

Friedrich delivered when its team had to have it, keeping things tidy in the back against Thierry Henry and the offensively stacked Red Bulls. Friedrich also made an impact on the Fire attack with his selective bursts forward.

Valdes was his steady self, delivering the goods in two wins while keeping young, continually emerging center back Amobi Okugo pointed in the right direction.


  • Vancouver’s Dane Richards
  • San Jose Marvin Chavez
  • Seattle’s Christian Tiffert

Rationale, motive and intent: Richards was nearly unstoppable as the Whitecaps finally looked like a playoff team in a resounding 4-0 win over Chivas USA.

Chavez had a goal and an assist as the Earthquakes went into Denver and picked apart the home side.  And Tiffert was a force in the wide areas for Seattle in the 3-0 crusher over Portland, one witnessed by quite a few folks.


  • Chicaco’s Sherjill MacDonald
  • San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski
  • Real Salt Lake’s Fabian Espindola
  • Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney

Rationale, motive and intent: We covered MacDonald’s two-goal night in the Player of the Week post from about an hour ago.

Wondolowski moved closer to the single-season goal mark with his 23rd, 24th and 25th goals this year, those in a 4-1 destruction of the Colorado Rapids outside Denver. Two more games to catch Roy Lassiter’s all-time MLS mark.

Espindola hit twice as the visitors upset David Beckham and the Galaxy outside L.A.

McInerney, barely 20 years old now, had two goals and an assists as the Union won twice last week. Too bad more of this didn’t happen around PPL Park earlier this year – the winning that is, not necessarily McInerney’s late-season exploits.

  1. ndnut - Oct 8, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    I’m a Sounders fan but I don’t agree with Tiffert being on the TotW this week. He overhit a number of balls and really wasn’t present on offense, rather making the game chippy and whining for fouls, eventually allowing his personal frustration to earn him a yellow. I know it’s a derby and some rough play can be expected, but what Tiffert did was unnecessary, including the whining. Heck, even in the Seattle midfield I would say that Mauro Rosales was better than him.

    • Steve Davis - Oct 8, 2012 at 8:52 PM

      No love for Brad Evans, either, maybe? I thought maybe he was almost as deserving as Tiffert.

  2. dreadpirate82 - Oct 8, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Friedrich has really impressed me every time I’ve seen Chicago. Berry has gotten more publicity of late, but his partner on the back line has been a huge part of his development. Good to see him recognized.

  3. ndnut - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Evans had a good game too, I just was pointing out that he wasn’t even the best midfielder on the team last night.

  4. ndnut - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    He meaning Tiffert.

  5. knackstermyea - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Soccer sux.

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