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The Best of MLS Week 9: Lade, Minnesota United, Pines and more

In a week where Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Nani all scored goals, it was a cast of unsung heroes who impressed the most in MLS Week 9.

From veteran New York Red Bulls defender Connor Lade to San Jose winger Shea Salinas and Portland defender Bill Tuiloma, there were some unusual suspects among the league’s top performers and performances this past week.

We also saw some teams overcome adversity to post strong weeks, including the Montreal Impact, which endured a travel nightmare before beating New England on the road, and Minnesota United, which faced a very difficult schedule and delivered its home fans some memorable matches.

Here’s a look at the league’s best in Week 9.

Player of the week

Connor Lade stepped up when the New York Red Bulls were in desperate need of a goal, and a win, delivering a left-footed blast that complemented a strong all-around performance in Saturday’s 1-0 win against FC Cincinnati.

Portland’s Sebastian Blanco, San Jose’s Shea Salinas and Montreal’s Zackaria Diallo all posted impressive weeks to also merit consideration.

Team of the week

It wasn’t a perfect home stand for Minnesota United, but it was an impressive one. Minnesota United’s defense picked a perfect time to tighten up, posting a pair of shutouts against the LA Galaxy and D.C. United to register a four-point week, including the Loons’ first home win at Allianz Field.

The Montreal Impact deserve honorable mention for their two-win week, while Portland’s road win against Toronto FC was also impressive.

Young player of the week

Rookie defender Donovan Pines has established himself as a force in the D.C. United defense in recent weeks, and his performances this past week were outstanding, including his effort in D.C. United’s 1-0 win against the Columbus Crew. He also came close to scoring his first career goal only to have a VAR decision overturn it.

New York City FC’s James Sands and Montreal’s Shamit Shome earned honorable mention for their performances this week.

Goal of the week

Bill Tuiloma’s volley finish edged on Connor Lade’s left-footed blast for this week’s honors.

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