Winners and Losers from MLS Week 20: Higuain, Mastroeni, Houston and More

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2014

Winners and Losers from MLS Week 20: Higuain, Mastroeni, Houston and More

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    Week 20 was quite the unique one in Major League Soccer, as the schedule saw just seven games thanks to a slew of friendlies. 

    Mixed in with the high-scoring week of league play, and the friendlies against European sides, was a major announcement made by a struggling side.

    Speaking of struggles, there were a few defenders who suffered from them in Week 20, and they did not escape criticism.

    Read on to see who were the biggest winners and losers from the 20th week of play in MLS. 

Winner: Pablo Mastroeni

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    Friday night belonged to Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni, who was inducted into the team's Gallery of Honor. 

    Not only was he honored by the club he played 12 years for, but he was also handed a win by the team he now coaches.

    The 3-0 win over Chivas USA helped the Rapids jump over FC Dallas into third place in the Western Conference. 

Loser: Carlyle Mitchell's Footballing Logic

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    The worst lapse of the week came from Vancouver defender Carlyle Mitchell, who conceded a penalty on one of the most boneheaded plays of the season.

    Mitchell jumped in the way of incoming keeper David Ousted, and instead of letting his own keeper clean up in the box, the defender jumped up and saw the ball hit his hand. 

    The penalty concession by the young defender allowed Michel to power a shot home from the spot in the 39th minute. 

Winner: Federico Higuain

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    Federico Higuain's form took a hit for all of June and some of July due to injuries, but now the Argentinian star is back and making plays for Columbus.

    In the Crew's win over New England Saturday night, Higuain delivered a work of brilliance in the 43rd minute on a free-kick goal. 

    The goal was the first for the designated player since he bagged a brace on May 17 against the Timbers. 

Loser: Matt Besler

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    For the first time in his MLS career, Matt Besler was sent off in Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 victory over Toronto. 

    Besler picked up a yellow in the 53rd minute for a foul on Dominic Oduro, and it was another foul on Oduro 22 minutes later that earned him a second yellow. 

    The center back will serve his first-ever red-card suspension Friday against Philadelphia. 

Winners: Houston Dynamo

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    The Houston Dynamo brought in some reinforcements during their bye week from league play, as DaMarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido were unveiled as the newest members of the club. 

    Beasley was signed as the club's third designated player, while Garrido was brought to Houston on an 18-month loan from Olimpia in Honduras. 

    Hopefully, the additions of the two players, who played at the 2014 World Cup, will help the Dynamo climb out of ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings. 

Loser: Chivas USA's Momentum

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    Only two weeks ago, we were singing the praises of Chivas USA after the club extended its winning streak to four games. 

    After two road games in D.C. and Colorado, the Goats are now on a two-game losing streak heading into the month of August. 

    Despite losing all of their momentum over the last two games, the Goats are still just five points out of the fifth and final playoff spot in the West. 

Winner: Caleb Porter

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    Tied at two goals apiece in the 79th minute with Montreal, Portland boss Caleb Porter could have easily settled for a draw at Stade Saputo, but he was not satisfied with bringing a single point back to the Pacific Northwest. 

    At that juncture of the game, Porter inserted Rodney Wallace into the game for Diego Chara, and the move paid off three minutes later. 

    Wallace played a major role in the game-winning goal scored by Diego Valeri, as his cross bounced to the Argentinian designated player in the buildup to the strike. 

Loser: Darrius Barnes

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    It is becoming hard not to pick on the New England Revolution in the losers section each week, especially since their losing streak was extended to eight games after a 2-1 loss to Columbus.

    Instead of picking on the team as a whole, we decided to single out Darrius Barnes for his lackadaisical defensive effort on the game-winning goal scored by Ethan Finlay. 

    Barnes was beaten to the ball by Finlay because he stood flat-footed for a second, and when he tried to recover, he stumbled. 

    One of these weeks, New England will finally snap its losing streak, but after another deflating loss, it is hard to predict when that will happen. 

Loser: Frank Yallop

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    New England's losing record at the moment may be bad, but it is nothing compared to the stretch Chicago manager Frank Yallop is going through. 

    Yallop's Chicago side were trounced by his former club, San Jose, Wednesday night, which extended the manager's brutal run of form to just six wins in his last 34 games. 

    Only three of those wins have come this season with the eighth-place team in the East. 

Winners: New York Red Bulls

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    The reason for the shortage of games this week in MLS was the influx of European sides into the States for preseason friendlies. 

    Numerous MLS sides took on teams from Europe, but only one came out on top. 

    New York downed Arsenal, 1-0, in a match that felt very much like a Thierry Henry testimonial. 

    The scorer of the Red Bulls' lone goal was MLS Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips, whose form is out of this world at the moment. 

     

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.