Major League Soccer

MLS Week 3: The Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week

SchelottoMarsch (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                      Photo by ISIphotos.com

Week Three of the MLS season will be remembered for hat-tricks, comebacks and continued slumps. Conor Casey and Robbie Findley did the honors with three goals apiece, while New England and Colorado fought back for victories after trailing.

Then you have the slumping powers, Columbus and Houston, which finish week three with a combined record of 0-4-3.

There were also some memorable goals, including Sainey Nyassi's dribble and drive, as well as Freddie Ljungberg's first MLS goal, which came off a beautiful sequence.

Here is a look back at the Best and Worst performances/moments/developments from Week Three of the MLS season, as well as this week's MLS Team of the Week:

Week Three Best XI

Conor Casey's hat-trick.

Robbie Findley's hat-trick.

Chivas USA keeping it rolling with new faces.

The Seattle Sounders winning their first road game.

Freddie Ljungberg scoring a goal and playing a great first game.

Osvaldo Alonso continuing to state his case as a surprise all-star.

Clint Mathis showing glimpses of the old Clint Mathis.

Sainey Nyassi's beautiful equalizing goal vs. FC Dallas.

Chicago showing heart in winning despite being  a man down.

D.C. United's defense putting forth a solid effort after some very shaky weeks.

The Kansas City defense posts a shutout after giving up five in its first two games.

Week Three Worst XI

Wil Hesmer's awful clearance right to Robbie Findley.

Columbusdropping two straight to start winless in four.

Andy Iro's ugly tackle on Carey Talley.

The LA Galaxy's horrendous defending in the loss to Colorado.

The Red Bulls midfield's terrible showing vs. Chicago.

San Jose's attack reverting to its toothless ways vs. KC. (one shot on goal).

Toronto FC coming out flat and playing poorly in sold-out home opener.

Houston's offense continuing to struggle to find the net.

The announced crowd of 6,922 at the KC-San Jose game.

Nasty weather in Chicago, Toronto and Kansas City that forced many fans to stay home.

FC Dallas blowing a lead and giving up all the points.

SBI MLS Team of the Week (Week 3)

—————Conor Casey——-Robbie Findley————–

–Freddie Ljungberg—-Shalrie Joseph—Clint Mathis——-

————–Osvaldo Alonso——-Jesse Marsch————–

Wilman Conde———-Jimmy Conrad———Brian Namoff

—————————-Kasey Keller————————-

Honorable Mentions: Brad Knighton, Bakary Soumare, Lance Watson, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Logan Pause, Claudio Lopez, Logan Pause, Brad Evans, Eduardo Lillingston, Landon Donovan, Luciano Emilio

(I added Donovan and Pause, who were both deserving. almost went with Knighton in goal but Keller's presence in the penalty area vs. Toronto can't be ignored. He's the most commanding presence in goal in the league and it showed again vs. Toronto.)


What did you think of the selections? Where there any glaring omissions? Did you have a personal favorite you would have liked to se on the list?

Share your thoughts on this week's MLS Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week in the comments section below.

  • EDB

    I don’t know how you have conde but not Tim Ward or Logan Pause who just controlled the mid field being a man down.


  • Gabe

    The Galaxy’s second goal deserves a mention. I thought it was a great, arsenal style build up.


  • SR

    I think you should have a seperate link that says, “Worsts (see LA Galaxy)” We could go on and on about how they just killed themselves. Kovalenko…what a goon. It looks to be another dissapointing season unless The Bruce can come up with something.

    As for NYRB, I think things will start to look up for them. Unlike LA, they have a host of good players who are hungry to prove themselves and have yet to see the pitch. Osorio will put the pieces together in time to make a strong push in the East. LA can look forward to getting a 35 yr old defender (Wow, no surprises there form the LA front office) and circusbeckham for its second half July tour. The league is going to be sooooo fun to follow by that time.


  • Turtle

    How about Landon Donovan’s two assists? (For now)He’s the single handedly keeping the Gals competitive.


  • hokieunited

    Thought Ricardo Clark might have earned at least a mention. He controlled the midfield for Houston for the entire game.


  • lorenzo

    I think Findley’s selection is ludicrous. Might as well put Hesmer in the Midfield since he had those 2 assists. Lujngberg was playing a deep FWD role and Donovan had two great assists. If you’re going to report by only reading the stat line, please go cover baseball.


  • joe k

    conde got beat by kandji on the red-card play. he played well, but that mistake should have been the game.

    and EDB, the fire played okay, but it was more a function of the red bulls doing their sulking on the field. they gave up and played worse soccer than they did in seattle, which is more impressive than anything tim ward has ever done.


  • DC Josh

    Agree with Turtle, he is a Varsity on a team with a bunch of JV’s.

    Glad Namoff is getting recognition, he is our most under-rated player by far, with Clyde Simms in the mix.

    The weather did not help the attendance over the weekend, but it can’t be an excuse for “fans” not showing up at the game. Real fans don’t care, rain or shine, although I will say it sucks, i.e. Columbus February 11th against Mexico.

    I really like this feature Ives keep it coming!! Also waiting on Hall’s diary entry for the week.


  • SR

    Turtle and lorenzo are spot on. Donovan kept a 10 man side in the match and set up 2 goals – 1 was unselfish and brilliant. He must have felt a dagger go in his back when Casey netted that 3rd and final goal.


  • CD

    has Keller really made any saves, except one in the TFC game?

    also LD has been on fire, the G defense is horrible but LD is playing very well


  • lorenzo

    i’ve got admit it, Ives, usually you’re on top of things but your review of Week 3 games seems light years behind your regular level of coverage. From the power rankings to this list, seems you had a busy weekend. Everything ok in Galaland?


  • Steve

    Glaring ommission for worst:

    PK call against George John gifting the win to the Revs


  • brett

    EDB- i agree that Tim Ward and Pause should get some recognition… at least Ward, he’s been rather solid for 3 weeks running now…

    Joe K- i dont know, 3 weeks of solid games is something to note….Ward has proven to be another player who found greener pastures 😀


  • Ken

    Keller made a couple of great saves against RSL, including a breakaway against Movsisyan.


  • Shmenge

    Houston these days has about one gear, one speed, and has become very predictable.

    They still have talented players plugged into the old Kinnear system, but the system itself is taking on water after a good run of several years.

    Dom needs to head back to the chalkboard in terms of tactics to fit his evolving lineup.


  • sean monaghan

    How did you forget Marco Pappa in the starting 11?!?!

    54 fantasy points


  • Jeff

    Gotta give some props to Ralston. What a huge difference he makes for the Revs when he gets on the field!


  • Gilby

    ED Keller also made two nice saves in the NYRB games one on a Kandi break away and the other on Rojas’s wicked half volley.

    It’s nice to see the depth at Seattle Brad Evans who’s gotten mention in the team of the week twice now will probably have to sit on the bench this week if both Fred(ie)(y)’s starting. Plus they have King, Wahl, Sturgis, King and Nyassi all available off the bench as well, all talented guys, most of whom were starters at one point and time in the last year.

    With this kind of depth it begs the question with the Sounders having first rights on basically any USL player was MLS to generous with the expansion draft and the allocation dollars provided. If Seattle continues to pummel other MLS sides how will that effect Vancouver and Portland’s options for signing player in 2011.


  • Jane

    “Keller is by far the best keeper in the league.”

    I hope there is at least one v one with Claudio Lopez this weekend. Lopez made Joe Cannon look pretty silly last weekend.


  • Josh T.

    Don’t pile on KC for a bad attendance mark and in the next breath mention it again with regard to bad weather.


  • Zacalie

    Lorenzo, you obviously didn’t watch the RSL-Columbus game if you think that Findley’s 3 goals are meaningless numbers. He was dangerous all game long, took his chances well, despite the fact that Hesmer gifted him the second goal.


  • Turtle

    Jeff – you are right Ralston changed the game like Torres did against El Salvador. Night and day….


  • beckster

    Ives…can’t disagree with your picks. Clint Mathis looked really good – I so enjoyed seeing him looking a little like the Clint of old.

    Thanks for recognizing Namoff. He tends to get lost in the sea of horrible DC defending but he comes out every game, does what he needs to do and sames a lot of goals.


  • SBGarrett

    Some College teams out-draw KC during the regular season… ridiculous, move them to Miami/St. Louis/San Diego/Canada


  • Seriously?

    Would have to agree that I was suprised not to see Steve Ralston mentioned. Not only did the game change when he came in, but it was even better considering it was his first real game action since before he got hurt towards the end of last season.


  • joe k

    brett –
    ward may have found greener pastures, but all i’m saying is that you can’t say that tim ward deserves great recognition for his game against the red bulls. i could have cut off my feet and put them on backwards and had a field day against them (at least after the goal).

    i have a feeling that i’ll need a long tailgate before the next home game (although i have a good feeling about playing RSL…)


  • AlexS


    Dom’s a step ahead of you 😛 Since he’s short a starting centerback after Eddie Robinson’s injury, he played a 3-5-2 this week against DC (though it might be because DC also uses a 3-5-2) and Houston dominated the midfield. If they would have taken more shots on goal like they did in the last 10 minutes, they would have turned their midfield dominance into goals.

    As it stands, the 3 man back line was a problem, since Bobby Boswell got caught defending high and couldn’t control or clear the lob (it went a few inches over his head) which Emillio then took and chipped over Pat Onstad. If it had been a 4-man back line, I think there would have been somebody else who could have covered. But that’s a matter of time and experience.


  • brant

    @ Zacalie

    Thank you for saying something to Lorenzo. To say that Finley wasn’t great b/c Hesmer made some mistakes is dumb. Finley was in position to capitalize on those mistakes, and that’s smart soccer. It’s not a matter of “report[ing] by only reading the stat line”; it’s watching the game and seeing a player impose his will on a defense that was already out of sorts, and on its heels most of the game. Finley played great that night, and The Crew paid the price.


  • Mike Caramba

    Worst XI: All MLS attendance except Seattle and Toronto. I’m pretty sure KC filled about half of their 10,000-seat stadium in their most recent match. Bad weather, yeah, but isn’t the advantage of playing in a tiny stadium that it’s supposed to create some sort of ticket demand?


  • Chase

    I really don’t think you people realize how bad the weather this weekend was in the Plains. Having 6,000 there should be seen as an accomplishment.

    And KC moving is just not going to happen. I don’t understand why people come in here and claim this all the time. They are owned by a local ownership group and are in the process of building a SSS that has the Missouri State Legislature’s approval. MLS cannot just step in and move the team as SBGarret seems to believe.

    DCU (as much as I hate to admit it as a supporter of the club), is far more in danger of moving right now, as the PG County Stadium plan is going up in smoke and rumors persist that they are flirting with the idea of heading to StL if things do not improve.


  • brett

    joe k- ah but i was pointing out the recognition of a good game against Redbulls can be backed by good games against DCU and FCD…. 3 solid performances in 3 weeks should be added into the calculation.. not a starting XI per se, but at least honorable mention

    but ill lay off the subject as i noticed Ives has listed Logan Pause TWICE in honorable mention 😀


  • art

    Good to see Brad Knighton getting props. For a young guy, he’s been outstanding, particularly on crosses. So few of the current MLS keepers seem to be anything other than ordinary in the air and controlling their box; Knighton seems to have balls of steel and you can see the Revs defense gain confidence from it. I’m sure Knighton’s play helped make Nicol’s switch back to the 3-5-2 when Ralston came on an easy choice to make.


  • bee dubya


    Conditions were the same in Toronto – below freezing and very strong winds and yet there were 20,000 + there singing and jumping around. The league needs strong attendance even when the weather sucks.


  • Modibo

    As others have said, Conde blew the play on Kandji that ended with Thorrington being sent off. He had some great moments during the rest of the game, but for me that error disqualifies him for Best XI this week.

    I’m on brett’s side re: Tim Ward. Yes, RBNY didn’t bring their game to Chicago but he has really impressed in a position that was arguably our weakest spot last year with Prideaux.


  • MVK

    the only saving grace from the weather in KC Sunday was that the Cauldren section and where most of the seats are was where the wind was at our backs and the ball park was blocking the wind.. The outfield was where all the wind was getting though, right where Gomez put that switch into Lopez on the 2nd goal (see MLS GOTW).. Weather was saying it was 30 degrees w/o windchill and 30-40 mph winds… it was horrible

    Mike Caramba -“Worst XI: All MLS attendance except Seattle and Toronto. I’m pretty sure KC filled about half of their 10,000-seat stadium in their most recent match. Bad weather, yeah, but isn’t the advantage of playing in a tiny stadium that it’s supposed to create some sort of ticket demand?”

    “Well its nasty out, but since there is a ticket demand at CAB I am going to go”… ? logic?


  • Bob

    Darnit Dallas did not give up 3 points the ref GAVE NE the points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • dan

    bee dubya,

    Yeah it was sub freezing and windy in Toronto, but on top of all there was there rain/sleet/snow like there was in KC over the weekend?


  • Brian

    A previous comment was very unfair on Findley’s performance for RSL. Yes Findley took advantage of two mistakes from Hesmer, but he did capitalize on those mistakes. However, Findley’s performance against Columbus was more than just three goals on the stat sheet, (as if that is a bad thing); his pace terrorized Columbus all night, and his sliding tackle and near assist to Movsisyan near the end of the game was brilliant…


  • Nick

    Sanna Nyassi of Sounders is better than Sainey nyassi of Rev.

    More explosive speed and better dribbler.


  • Nick

    Keller best keeper of league,

    Hurtado – Marshall best CB pair in league

    Ljundberg – best midfeilder in league

    Montero – best forward in league

    Sigi Schmid – best coach in league

    Seattle Sounders FC – best team in the league

    Im saying that as a loyal Toronto FC fan too.


  • Chase

    bee dubya: two points…

    1. Toronto is in Canada. The cold isn’t likely to effect our neighbors to the north.

    2. You are still underestimating how bad the weather was in KC, I didn’t see rain, sleet, or snow in Toronto.


  • Fred Smilek

    Toronto is embarrassing the game right now

    The Society to Save Endangered Species was formed by Fred Smilek and two of his colleagues; Charlie Mack & Jonathan Korny. Fred Smilek stays active in raising awareness for this cause. [www.fredjsmilek.com]


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