Winners and Losers from MLS Week 19: Everyone at Sporting KC, Borchers and More
With a full slate of nine games being played this weekend in Major League Soccer, there were plenty of things to talk about regarding the play on the pitch.
However, the biggest story of Week 19 came off the pitch thanks to Sporting Kansas City handing out a few big contracts to Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.
On the field, there were a few controversial calls and players who experienced good and bad moments in their respective time on the pitch.
Continue reading on to see who were the biggest winners and losers from Week 19 in MLS.
Winners: Besler, Zusi, MLS and Sporting Kansas City
The big news of the weekend came in the form of an announcement by Sporting Kansas City that Matt Besler and Graham Zusi were signed to designated player contracts.
The decision to stay at home ended a few weeks of transfer speculation surrounding Besler, while Zusi was due for a raise after all he has done for club and country over the last few years.
By locking up these two superstars of the league, Sporting and the players made a statement that MLS can keep its best American talent at home for their entire careers, which is something no one expected to see even a year or two ago.
Winner: Goal Celebrations by Sporting KC Players
Two weeks ago, Dom Dwyer delivered the goal celebration of the year with his selfie after scoring against Chicago.
Against the Galaxy, Benny Feilhaber locked up the "Team with Best Celebrations" award by mimicking the pregame routine of LeBron James following his free-kick goal in the 10th minute.
Not only does this show the creativity flowing through the minds of the Sporting players, but it also represents the fun they are having while playing at such a high level.
Loser: Nat Borchers
The worst refereeing decision of the week came from Rio Tinto Stadium in the 71st minute of the clash between Real Salt Lake and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
RSL defender Nat Borchers attempted a sliding challenge in the box on Darren Mattocks, and despite clearly getting all ball with the tackle, he was whistled for a penalty.
After the match, RSL head coach Jeff Cassar was pretty clear about his opinion on the decision, as he said it was 100 percent not a penalty kick. The defender also shared the same sentiment after the game.
Winner/Loser: Deshorn Brown
Deshorn Brown got off to a hot start Friday against the Timbers, as he cleaned up a scramble in the box to knock home his third goal in five games in the 16th minute.
However, the smile on his face was taken away in the 24th minute, when he was substituted for Danny Mwanga after he suffered a right groin strain.
To make matters worse, Brown was caught a few minutes later looking quite lonely by himself on the Rapids bench, which caught the eye of plenty of users on Twitter.
Winners: Ben Olsen's All-American XI
Something you rarely see in any domestic league nowadays is the fielding of an entire starting 11 from that country.
D.C. manager Ben Olsen rolled out an entirely American starting lineup in his side's 3-1 win over Chivas USA Sunday night.
The lineup included league veterans (Chris Rolfe and Bobby Boswell), a future star in net (Bill Hamid), a big contributor to the last World Cup qualification process (Eddie Johnson) and a few potential future stars.
Loser: Michael Bradley
With his team down a goal in the 29th minute, Michael Bradley stepped to the spot to attempt to equalize Toronto's game with Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Bradley stutter-stepped before shooting, and he hit the right post, which led some to question the selection of the American as the penalty taker.
The final score of the game was 2-2, which means Bradley's penalty could have been the deciding goal for the Reds.
Winner/Loser: Steven Lenhart
One of the biggest villains in MLS played a role in both goals scored at Red Bull Arena Saturday night.
Steven Lenhart handed the Red Bulls a penalty in the 32nd minute, when the ball struck his left arm in the box as he was going up in the air to fight Tim Cahill in an aerial duel.
Lenhart made up for his mistake in the 85th minute, when his shot cut through the New York defense for his first goal of the season.
Loser: Bobby Shuttleworth
Bobby Shuttleworth just can't catch a break at the moment in goal for the Revolution.
The 27-year-old made seven saves against FC Dallas, but his effort was not good enough, as his defense let him down by conceding two goals.
New England is now in the middle of a seven-game losing streak that has seen the back four, which was highly praised over the first few months of the season, concede 17 goals.
Loser: Oswaldo Minda
In his second game back from the World Cup, Oswaldo Minda committed a silly error that led to D.C. United's first goal Sunday night.
Minda bumped into Chris Rolfe in the box to set up the first of three strikes to come from the Black and Red at RFK Stadium.
The Ecuadorian's penalty concession gave Eddie Johnson the opportunity to score and grab all the momentum of the contest.
Winners: The Fans in Portland...Finally
It has been far from a banner year for the Portland Timbers, but things did get a bit better Friday night after they defeated Colorado at home, 2-1.
The win was the first at Providence Park for Caleb Porter's side since May 3, when it took down D.C. United, 3-2.
During that span, the Timbers won three road games against New York, Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.