MLS All-Stars: Best XI Players of Week Three

Hayden Bird@haydenhbirdCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2012

MLS All-Stars: Best XI Players of Week Three

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    The MLS season is now well underway. As usual, things look pretty even across much of the league.

    True, there are the decided front runners (and they mostly reside in Kansas City), but even the struggling New England Revolution have managed an early three points and look threatening.

    Still, some players definitely placed themselves at the forefront of the league in Week 3. Let's have a look at a few of them.

Goalie: Dan Kennedy, Chivas USA

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    In securing one of the greatest upsets of the season so far at Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA put their season back on track and stung an unsuspecting conference rival by clinging to a 1-0 win.

    Playing a critical role in the upset was Kennedy, who shined even in the face of relentless Salt Lake pressure.

    And while his team got dominated in possession, Kennedy never flinched (though he did get some help from the crossbar).

Defender: Jay DeMerit, Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Always a fierce defender, DeMerit (and the rest of his teammates in Vancouver) has definitely shown the league how to keep attackers at bay this season.

    And that was no different against D.C. United in their last game, which ended 0-0.

    While the lack of a goal might disturb Vancouver front men, it's encouraging to DeMerit, as his team is yet to concede a league goal after three rounds in 2012.

Defender: Shalrie Joseph, New England Revolution

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    In the makeshift New England defense, Joseph once again showed how versatile he can be, deputizing as a center back.

    And it wasn't an easy substitution either, as he faced former Rangers star forward Kris Boyd.

    Dangerous as Boyd was, Joseph proved he was up to the challenge, mitigating Portland's attack for 90 solid minutes. New England got the 1-0 win, and new manager Jay Heaps got his first win.

Defender: Cory Gibbs, Chicago Fire

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    Despite creating a majority of the chances in the game, Chicago actually had a minority of the possession.

    Thanks to Gibbs and his teammates in defense, this did not bother the Fire. They rolled to a 1-0 win against Philadelphia.

Outside Midfielder: Lee Nguyen, New England Revolution

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    While his finishing may still need some work, no one can doubt Nguyen's ability to take defenders on with the dribble.

    His speed and ingenuity have already made New England look more dangerous from his position than they were all of last season.

    If he can keep this up when Benny Fielhaber comes back, then those two will combine with rookie Kelyn Rowe to form a very creative and capable midfield.

Central Midfielder: Milovan Mirosevic, Columbus Crew

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    Mirosevic distributed the ball well for the Crew in their 2-0 win against Montreal.

    True, his team was up a man for a majority of the game, but his ability to maximize the man advantage helped kill the game off (Columbus had 58 percent of the possession).

    Not to mention his conversion of a penalty shot gave his team the lead for good in the 30th minute.

Central Midfielder: Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders

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    Even though the Sounders had less possession than Houston, they came out 2-0 winners.

    Certainly Alonso deserves a measure of credit for that. His industry and hard work in the midfield breaking up attacks can be seen as a big reason for Seattle's success.

    His toughness will be a major asset for the Sounders going forward.

Outside Midfielder: Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City

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    Zusi continues to ensconce himself in the MLS as a dynamic midfielder.

    With two more assists in Kansas City's 2-1 win over Houston, Zusi showed his playmaking skills.

    He currently leads the league with four assists and, given his goal on his international debut in January, 2012 has been good to Zusi so far.

Forward: Theirry Henry, New York Red Bulls

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    Henry, like the Red Bulls as a unit, roared to life in their 4-1 win over Colorado.

    His brace of goals and an assist was more than enough firepower for New York, as they erased the memory of back-to-back defeats to open the season.

    After losing defensive star Tim Ream to Bolton Wanderers, the Red Bulls may need Henry to propel them more often than not this season.

Forward: Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes

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    I'll put it this way: Wondolowski was denied a hat trick only because he cracked the post in the 87th minute during his team's 3-0 win against Toronto.

    If that doesn't warrant a place on this list, I don't know what does (though I'm sure he'll be redoubling his efforts to not hit the post).

    Yet his finishing ability belies the story of the game, as Toronto dominated much of the possession (an astounding 61 percent).

    With that in mind, it only proves further the point that possession gets you only so far in soccer. Without a clinical finisher like Wondolowski, it doesn't matter all that much.

Forward: Kei Kamara, Sporting Kansas City

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    Profligate as he might be in front of goal occasionally, Kamara still nets his fair share of goals.

    Even though he missed a penalty, Kamara never wavered in his effort. And his reward was an 88th-minute winner, securing the 2-1 K.C. win over Houston.

    His energy and knack for clutch goals has given his team a major boost this year, as very early discussion of a league MVP centers closely around him.


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