MLS Team of the Week: Villa, Drogba, Valeri Shine in Week 9
Week 9 in Major League Soccer saw a wide array of players produce the week's best performances.
Didier Drogba and David Villa were among the superstars up to their regular tricks as both designated players scored on terrific strikes on Saturday.
Portland's Diego Valeri joined the pair of world-class attackers in the Goal of the Week competition on Sunday in Portland's win over Toronto FC.
Some of the top defensive showings across the United States and Canada this week came from unlikely players. One even showed off his finishing skills in the attacking end of the pitch.
Since there were three games on Wednesday, we took those matches into account while choosing our Week 9 Team of the Week.
Continue reading to see which 11 players were named to Bleacher Report's best XI from the week of action in MLS.
GK: Jake Gleeson, Portland Timbers
Jake Gleeson made a pair of massive denials late in the second half on Sunday to preserve three points for the Portland Timbers.
Three minutes after Valeri put the Timbers in the lead, Gleeson launched himself in the air and stopped Michael Bradley's effort from right outside the box. In the 91st minute, the backup netminder sprawled near the right post to keep out Will Johnson's effort from close range.
The 25-year-old recorded a total of four saves in the 2-1 victory over Toronto FC to earn his first win as a starter this season. He came on in relief of the injured Adam Kwarasey in the 3-1 win over San Jose on April 16.
RB: Sal Zizzo, New York Red Bulls
Even the New York Red Bulls defense is firing on all cylinders at the moment.
The much-maligned back four held the dangerous FC Dallas attack led by Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo to four shots on target in the 4-0 win produced by Jesse Marsch's side on Friday night.
In addition to limiting Castillo to a pair of key passes and one shot, Sal Zizzo played a role in the beautiful free-kick routine that produced the opening tally at Red Bull Arena.
CB: Jonathan Campbell, Chicago Fire
Rookie center-back Jonathan Campbell displayed the finishing touch of a forward in the 41st minute of the Chicago Fire's 1-1 draw with D.C. United.
The University of North Carolina product flicked an Arturo Alvarez free-kick into the right side of the net to open his MLS account on Saturday.
The 22-year-old's strike was Chicago's only shot on goal in the poor conditions at Toyota Park. Campbell also helped limit the D.C. attack to three attempts on target.
CB: Zach Scott, Seattle Sounders
Zach Scott shined in his first start since March 19 in Seattle's 1-0 win over Columbus.
One of the 35-year-old's top contributions came in the 32nd minute as he forced Federico Higuain to hesitate just enough to let Stefan Frei recover from his blunder on the right side of the box.
Scott blocked two shots and made three tackles in the Sounders' third win of the season. Despite winning on Saturday, Sigi Schmid's team are stuck in ninth place in the Western Conference with 10 points. They would be in a five-way tie for fourth if they played in the Eastern Conference.
LB: Maxim Tissot, Montreal Impact
Maxim Tissot usually doesn't find himself in the same discussion as Drogba.
The Montreal Impact left-back produced the second of two impressive strikes in the 2-2 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. The other tally came from the legendary forward.
In the tie at Stade Saputo, Tissot made seven interceptions and three clearances while holding Luis Solignac to 32 touches and one shot on target.
In Wednesday's 1-1 result against New York City FC, Tissot recorded five tackles and three clearances.
RM: Christian Bolanos, Vancouver Whitecaps
Christian Bolanos' production in front of goal was one of the few positive takeaways from Week 9 for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Costa Rica international netted a beautiful volley in the 14th minute of the 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.
After he missed a penalty on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, the 31-year-old slotted the rebound past Josh Saunders to level the game with NYCFC at two goals apiece.
Bolanos is tied with Jordan Harvey for second on the team's scoring chart with two goals. Pedro Morales leads the club with four tallies. No Whitecaps forward has more than one goal.
CM: Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers
There's no better way to celebrate your birthday than helping your team to a win with a fantastic free-kick strike.
On his 30th birthday, Diego Valeri contributed an assist on Fanendo Adi's 17th-minute opener, and he put Portland back in the lead with a splendid free-kick in the 74th minute.
Portland's win at home came after a long road trip back from New England where it earned a road point by way of a 1-1 draw.
The Argentine's performance on Sunday marked the first time since October 8, 2014, that he contributed to multiple Timbers strikes.
CM: Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls
Sacha Kljestan has been at the forefront of the New York Red Bulls' resurgence over the last few weeks.
The former RSC Anderlecht man played a role in the first two goals of his side's four-goal win over FC Dallas on Friday night.
The 30-year-old started the magnificent free-kick routine in the 37th minute and scored the second tally at Red Bull Arena in 52nd minute.
Four of Kljestan's five assists this season have come in the last three matches.
LM: Shkelzen Gashi, Colorado Rapids
Shkelzen Gashi helped Colorado earn a surprise point on the road at Stade Saputo on Saturday.
The offseason acquisition netted his second goal of the season two minutes into the second half and assisted on Bobby Burling's equalizer in the 72nd minute.
The 27-year-old also dished out three key passes in the draw that pushed the Rapids to the top of the Western Conference standings.
FW: Didier Drogba, Montreal Impact
Watch out MLS, Didier Drogba is heating up.
The Montreal forward produced a goal and an assist in the Impact's Week 9 matches, including a wonderful free-kick in the ninth minute on Saturday.
Drogba's set-piece strike from 25 yards out was one of the few highlights of the week for the Impact. Mauro Biello's side failed to open a gap at the top of the Eastern Conference as it earned just two points from the contests on Wednesday and Saturday.
FW: David Villa, New York City FC
David Villa bagged his third brace of the season for NYCFC in its 3-2 win over Vancouver on Saturday.
The Spanish legend recorded his fifth tally of 2016 in the 35th minute after Khiry Shelton forced a turnover in the middle of the field.
The 35-year-old then produced a world-class finish in the 41st minute as he volleyed Andrea Pirlo's corner into the back of the net.
The win came at the perfect time for NYCFC after Montreal earned a late point at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
GK: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
CB: Bobby Burling (Colorado Rapids)
LB: Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders)
LM: Brad Davis (Sporting Kansas City)
FW: Luciano Acosta (D.C. United)
FW: Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)
FW: Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.