MLS Team of the Week: Red Bulls and Galaxy Stars Lead Week 8's Best XI

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 25, 2016

MLS Team of the Week: Red Bulls and Galaxy Stars Lead Week 8's Best XI

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    The marquee clubs in Major League Soccer stole the headlines in Week 8 as the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls combined for eight goals on Saturday and Sunday. 

    Due to the offensive outbursts on each coast, five players from the two big-name franchises found their way into the latest Bleacher Report MLS Team of the Week. 

    In addition to the stars from New York and LA, Toronto FC placed a pair into our weekly best XI that is shaped in a 3-4-3 formation to accommodate a bevy of impressive attacking performances from Week 8.

    Continue reading to see which 11 players earned Team of the Week honors after a full weekend of play in MLS.

GK: David Ousted, Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Without the heroics of David Ousted during the first 20 minutes of Saturday's match at BC Place, the Vancouver Whitecaps would not have been able to earn three points against FC Dallas. 

    The Danish netminder was forced into action early in the Western Conference clash as he kept out Tesho Akindele's shot from the right side of the box in the second minute. In the 19th minute, Ousted turned away Maximiliano Urruti's looping shot over the bar with a leaping effort. 

    The 31-year-old made a total of four saves in a morale-boosting win for Carl Robinson's side as Vancouver earned its first win since March 26.

DEF: Taylor Kemp, D.C. United

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    Taylor Kemp didn't let the New England Revolution attack find a rhythm on his side of the pitch on Saturday at RFK Stadium.

    The 25-year-old left-back made four tackles, three clearances and three interceptions while limiting Kelyn Rowe to one shot over 90 minutes. 

    The clean sheet recorded by the Black and Red in the 3-0 win was their second in three weeks. Ben Olsen's side downed Vancouver 4-0 at home on April 9.

DEF: Victor Bernardez, San Jose Earthquakes

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    The only thing people remembered from San Jose's 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday was the blown penalty call from referee Jair Marrufo. 

    Sporting KC were unable to rebound from the bad no-call in the second half due to a lack of motivation and a strong performance in the back from the Earthquakes defense. 

    Center-back Victor Bernardez helped Dominic Kinnear's side hold Dom Dwyer to one shot on target in the victory at Avaya Stadium.

DEF: Jordan Harvey, Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Jordan Harvey allowed the Whitecaps to breathe a sigh of relief in the 63rd minute of their 3-0 win over FC Dallas on Saturday.

    The left-back used a solid first touch in the middle of the box to control the ball and slot home the second tally of the contest. 

    On the defensive end of the field, the 32-year-old made five clearances and four interceptions against the dangerous FC Dallas attack.

AM: Mike Grella, New York Red Bulls

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    It was only a matter of time before the New York Red Bulls broke out of their slump in front of goal. 

    Mike Grella opened the floodgates on Sunday at Red Bull Arena as he slotted a shot into the bottom-right corner of the net in the 65th minute. 

    Four minutes after recording his second tally of the season, Grella set up Bradley Wright-Phillips with a looping cross from the right side of the penalty area in the buildup to the team's second goal. 

    The attacking outburst in the 3-2 win over Orlando City ended the Red Bulls' four-game losing streak.

CM: Will Johnson, Toronto FC

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    Will Johnson was one of a few players in the Toronto FC midfield who held the threat of the Montreal Impact attack to a minimum in the first 401 derby of the season.

    The former Portland Timbers man made five tackles and four interceptions while limiting the Didier Drogba-led Impact to two shots on goal. 

    The 29-year-old also picked up an assist in the 2-0 win in the 80th minute as he poked the ball over to Sebastian Giovinco in the middle of the pitch.

CM: Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls

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    Sacha Kljestan returned to the form he displayed in 2015 in the Red Bulls' win over Orlando City on Sunday night. 

    The United States international dished out 10 key passes and two assists in the team's second victory of the 2016 campaign. The assists came on the opening strike netted by Grella and Wright-Phillips' second score of the contest. 

    Kljestan and the suddenly in-form Red Bulls attack will take to the pitch again on Friday when they face FC Dallas at Red Bull Arena.

AM: Emmanuel Boateng, LA Galaxy

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    Emmanuel Boateng was the standout star among a plethora of world-class players at the StubHub Center on Saturday night. 

    The 22-year-old midfielder provided the LA Galaxy with a goal and two assists in their 5-2 victory over Real Salt Lake. 

    Boateng's first key contribution came in the 26th minute as he delivered a perfect cross onto the boot of Mike Magee. In the 41st minute, the midfielder continued his run into the box and slotted home LA's third strike after Gyasi Zardes touched the ball over to his boot. 

    Right before half-time, Boateng tormented Tony Beltran with a run down the left wing and hustled inside the box in the buildup to Giovani Dos Santos' golazo.

FW: Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy

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    Zardes was the other Galaxy player who contributed at least a goal and an assist in the rout of Real Salt Lake. 

    Three minutes after the visitors opened the scoring at the StubHub Center, the United States international worked his way around a few defenders on the left side of the pitch and sent a blast into the bottom-right part of the net. 

    Zardes' assist on Boateng's strike wasn't as glamorous because it came on a poor first touch, but the ball bounced the right way and found the Ghanaian right before the half-time whistle.

FW: Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls

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    After weeks of miserable finishing in the final third, Wright-Phillips finally opened his 2016 account on Sunday. 

    The 31-year-old Englishman scored from close range in the 69th minute and finished off the contest and his second-half brace six minutes later as he knocked a Lloyd Sam cross into the middle of the net. 

    With his four shots on target, Wright-Phillips moved into the league lead in that category. If he uses Sunday's performance as a confidence-booster, the forward could end up near the top of the Golden Boot standings sooner rather than later.

FW: Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC

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    The 2015 MLS Most Valuable Player extended his hot scoring form into Saturday in Toronto's win over Montreal. 

    Sebastian Giovinco bagged his first brace of the season on a penalty and a splendid individual effort. After scoring from the spot in the 40th minute, the Atomic Ant produced a sublime strike from distance that perfectly rolled into the bottom-right part of the net in the 81st minute. 

    Giovinco, who is in contention for Italy's 23-man squad for Euro 2016, has four goals in his last three matches.

Bench

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    GK: Joe Bendik (Orlando City) 

    CB: Joshua Yaro (Philadelphia Union) 

    CB: Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps) 

    RM: Mike Magee (LA Galaxy) 

    LM: Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union) 

    FW: Alvaro Saborio (D.C. United) 

    FW: Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew) 

     

    Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com.