MLS Team of the Week: Dos Santos, Dwyer, Howard Star in Week 27

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2016

MLS Team of the Week: Dos Santos, Dwyer, Howard Star in Week 27

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    All the talk entering the weekend of action in Major League Soccer surrounded the return of Landon Donovan. 

    Although the Los Angeles Galaxy man's entrance as a substitute on Sunday was a major headline, it was far from the most important thing to occur in Week 27. 

    The Western Conference playoff race experienced quite the shakeup on Saturday as Colorado handed FC Dallas their first home loss of the season. The Galaxy took advantage of that result with a win over Orlando City on Sunday. 

    Over in the Eastern Conference, Toronto FC continued to distance themselves from the pack as a few results didn't go the way of home teams in the division where no one wants to lock up a playoff position. 

    Since there were a bevy of impressive performances at the forward position, we shaped our Bleacher Report MLS Team of the Week in a 4-3-3.

    Continue reading to see who was named to the best XI from Week 27.

GK: Tim Howard, Colorado Rapids

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    The Colorado Rapids delivered a massive statement to the Western Conference on Saturday as they went into Toyota Stadium and earned a 1-0 win over FC Dallas.

    Tim Howard made a few key stops with his legs in the second half to preserve an important clean sheet for Pablo Mastroeni's men. 

    The United States international made a total of seven saves in the win that narrowed the gap between first-place FC Dallas, the Rapids and the Galaxy. 

    Colorado sits five points back of FC Dallas and one point behind the Galaxy in the race for the top two.

Full-Back: Vytautas Andriuskevicius, Portland Timbers

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    Left-back Vytautas Andriuskevicius has been a welcome addition to the Portland Timbers back line, especially moving forward down the left flank. 

    In Saturday's 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake, the defender known as Vytas made some big contributions on the defensive side of the pitch as he limited Juan Manuel Martinez to a single key pass and zero shots. 

    The win by Caleb Porter's side was massive in the Western Conference playoff race, especially since the club has struggled to string together results lately. 

    The Timbers head into Saturday's home match with Philadelphia four points clear of Vancouver in the race for sixth in the West.

CB: Axel Sjoberg, Colorado Rapids

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    Axel Sjoberg helped Howard endure the onslaught from FC Dallas in the second half of Colorado's victory. 

    The 23-year-old Swede made five tackles, five clearances and four interceptions against the hungry FC Dallas forward line that put seven of their 17 shots on target. 

    Colorado's win on the road broke a four-game winless run that lasted for the majority of August and knocked the Rapids out of the top two spots in the Western Conference. 

    The Rapids have a great chance to climb back into the Supporters' Shield race with winnable matches against San Jose and Vancouver in the next two weeks.

CB: Jelle Van Damme, LA Galaxy

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    Before the Donovan spectacular returned to StubHub Center, Jelle Van Damme helped the Galaxy put on a show in front of the net. 

    The Belgian center-back sprung the attack that led to the first LA goal on Sunday as he played a ball from the back out to Emmanuel Boateng on the left wing. The Ghanaian then found Giovani dos Santos for the 35th-minute equalizer. 

    Three minutes later, Van Damme remained in the final third off a set piece and provided Alan Gordon with a beautiful assist from the left wing on the forward's 50th-career league tally. 

    Before his two-assist performance on Sunday, Van Damme only had two handouts to his name in MLS play.

Full-Back: Jordan Stewart, San Jose Earthquakes

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    Jordan Stewart was active early and often in the San Jose Earthquakes attack on Saturday as he created a few chances for the home side at Avaya Stadium.

    The left-back came close to finding the back of the net in the 18th minute, but his header was cleared off the line by Osvaldo Alonso. 

    Two minutes later, Stewart drove down the left side of the pitch and found Chris Wondolowski for a tap-in.

    Unfortunately for the Earthquakes, they could not hold on to their lead as they conceded a Nicolas Lodeiro free-kick in the 80th minute to end up in a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders.

MID: Boniek Garcia, Houston Dynamo

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    The most drama in Week 27 was produced by the Houston Dynamo on Friday night as they secured a point in second-half stoppage time against Sporting Kansas City.

    Honduran winger Boniek Garcia played a role in the final two tallies in the Dynamo's 3-3 draw with Peter Vermes' side at Children's Mercy Park. 

    Garcia's first assist came in the 59th minute as he played a ball in from the right wing that found Alex right in front of the goal. 

    With a minute left in the match, Garcia delivered a perfect free-kick onto the head of Raul Rodriguez to level the contest at three goals apiece. 

    The two-assist showing from the 32-year-old was his third of the regular season.

MID: Diego Fagundez, New England Revolution

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    The New England Revolution gained ground in the race for sixth place in the Eastern Conference on Saturday with a 3-1 win over New York City FC. 

    Diego Fagundez was a huge part of the victory for Jay Heaps' side as he produced a goal and an assist at Gillette Stadium. 

    In the 21st minute, Fagundez picked up the remnants of a free-kick to play Juan Agudelo in on the left side of the box to put the Revs up a goal. 

    The 21-year-old scored his fourth tally of the 2016 campaign in the 58th minute as he eluded a few defenders in tight space to beat Josh Saunders.

MID: Giovani Dos Santos, LA Galaxy

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    The player in an LA Galaxy shirt who everyone should be talking about is Giovani Dos Santos. 

    The Mexico international played a role in each of the Galaxy's four strikes in their 4-2 win over Orlando City at StubHub Center on Sunday. 

    Dos Santos netted an equalizer in the 35th minute off a splendid buildup out of the back, and he scored from the spot in the 45th minute. 

    Thanks to his current spell of form, Dos Santos has moved his season totals up to 14 goals and 10 assists. 

FW: Matteo Mancosu, Montreal Impact

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    The Montreal Impact needed 88 minutes to strike on the road on Saturday despite a flurry of early opportunities. 

    Matteo Mancosu finished off the late equalizer at Talen Energy Stadium as he headed a ball past Andre Blake at the left post off a set piece. 

    The goal was a welcome surprise for the Impact, who missed a pair of sitters in the first 10 minutes from close range. 

    The 1-1 draw with the Union kept the Impact three points back of Philadelphia in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. 

    If Montreal continue to pull off results on the road, they could move into the top four and host one of the midweek knockout-round matches in the postseason.

FW: Dom Dwyer, Sporting Kansas City

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    Dom Dwyer's whirlwind weekend began on Friday with a stellar performance up top for Sporting KC in their draw with Houston. 

    The Englishman sent five of his nine attempts on target, and he was finally rewarded for his play in the 81st minute as he knocked in a bouncing ball from the left side of the box. 

    The goal was the 13th of the season for the 26-year-old, who eclipsed his total from 2015 on Friday night. 

    A day later, the 2013 MLS Cup winner welcomed his first child into the world with United States women's star Sydney Leroux Dwyer.

FW: Juan Agudelo, New England Revolution

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    Agudelo has helped the Revolution move back into playoff contention over the last two weeks with strong showings up top.

    The American forward benefited from Fagundez's assist on his fifth goal of the season in the win over NYCFC, and he returned the favor on the final strike of the Eastern Conference clash. 

    New England's victory combined with Orlando's loss moved the club one point behind the Lions in the race for the final playoff position in the East. 

    The Revs have an opportunity to pull off a big result in Montreal in Week 28. If that occurs, they will announce themselves as a potential dark horse to sneak into the playoffs and do some damage.

Bench

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    GK: Bill Hamid (D.C. United) 

    CB: Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United) 

    CM: Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City) 

    CM: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders) 

    FW: Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls) 

    FW: Dominique Badji (Colorado Rapids) 

    FW: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC) 

     

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

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