MLS Team of the Weekend from Conference Final 2nd Legs

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 2, 2014

MLS Team of the Weekend from Conference Final 2nd Legs

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    Thanks to star performances from key players, the New England Revolution and LA Galaxy clinched spots in the December 7 MLS Cup Final. 

    New England advanced out of the Eastern Conference on a 4-3 aggregate after a 2-2 home draw with New York, while LA took advantage of the away-goals rule to advance on a 2-2 aggregate from the Western Conference. 

    In the matches at CenturyLink Field and Gillette Stadium, a few stars and some unexpected role players rose to the occasion to help their respective sides stay alive in the hunt for the MLS Cup.

    Continue reading on for a look at the MLS Team of the Week from the Conference Final second legs. 

GK: Stefan Frei, Seattle

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    Stefan Frei's efforts in front of the Seattle goal kept the Sounders alive throughout the second half, as they chased the elusive third goal in the Western Conference Final second leg. 

    Frei's top two denials came on shots from Stefan Ishizaki and Landon Donovan in the second stanza to stop the Galaxy from netting a second away goal after Juninho struck in the 54th minute. 

    In four playoff games, Frei made a total of 11 saves for the Supporters' Shield winners. 

RB: Dan Gargan, LA

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    Starting in place of A.J. DeLaGarza in the Galaxy back four, Dan Gargan turned in a strong showing against Lamar Neagle. 

    The 31-year-old right-back, who has been on the bench for most of the postseason, limited Neagle to 33 touches and one shot on target at CenturyLink Field. 

    If DeLaGarza is fit for the MLS Cup Final, Gargan will most likely head back to the bench. But the league veteran could play a key role late in the match if the Galaxy are ahead. 

CB: Zach Scott, Seattle

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    A week after being criticized for his persistent fouling, Zach Scott cleaned up his game and committed just one foul against the Galaxy. 

    In the 2-1 victory over the visiting Galaxy, Scott made a team-high 15 clearances and won five aerial duels. 

    Despite putting in a decent showing in the middle of defense, Scott and his teammates could not prevent the crucial LA away goal from finding the back of the net. 

CB: Omar Gonzalez, LA

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    Omar Gonzalez may not have caught a ton of headlines Sunday, but he deserved a bit of credit after the Galaxy clinched a spot in the December 7 championship match.

    The United States international made 15 clearances, six interceptions and won three aerial duels on the way to holding Seattle to three shots on target. 

    Gonzalez's job will not get any easier next week, as he will go head-to-head with the on-fire Charlie Davies at the top of the New England attack. 

LB: Robbie Rogers, LA

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    We are quickly running out of superlatives to describe the play of Robbie Rogers. 

    The LA left-back has arguably been the best defender in the MLS postseason thanks to his surging runs forward and strong defending. 

    Rogers once again played a key role in limiting DeAndre Yedlin's influence on the match, as the Seattle right-back only converted on one of his six attempted crosses. 

CDM: Eric Alexander, New York

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    For the second consecutive week, Eric Alexander silenced Most Valuable Player candidate Lee Nguyen. 

    Nguyen did make 57 touches in the match, but he was only able to take one shot, which went off target. 

    Unlike the first leg, Alexander was left on the pitch for 90 minutes to keep the United States international quiet for the duration of the match.

    Alexander's performance over the two legs will go unnoticed by many, but he deserves credit for keeping one of the league's most influential players in check for long periods of time. 

RM: Brad Evans, Seattle

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Brad Evans played the role of opportunist in the 26th minute of the Western Conference Final second leg to hand Seattle a one-goal lead in front of the home supporters at CenturyLink Field. 

    Evans raced over to the center of the penalty area to tap in the first goal of the match, which began to open up once the opening strike was scored. 

    On the defensive side of the ball, Evans kept a close eye on Landon Donovan, who only broke free on goal a few times Sunday night. 

CM: Juninho, LA

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Juninho netted the most meaningful goal of the weekend in the 54th minute of LA's 2-1 loss to Seattle. 

    The Brazilian's first goal since September 21, 2013 clinched the Galaxy's berth in the MLS Cup Final on away goals. His last goal also came against the Sounders in a 1-1 draw at StubHub Center. 

    The skillful shot from the central midfielder was perfectly placed onto the left post before it bounced into the back of the net. 

    In his normal spot next to Marcelo Sarvas, the 25-year-old completed 90 percent of his 50 passes. 

LM: Chris Tierney, New England

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    In an advanced role on the left wing, Chris Tierney proved just how deadly his left foot is. 

    The usual left-back produced two assists in the Revolution's 2-2 draw at Gillette Stadium in the Eastern Conference Final second leg. 

    His first cross created some chaos in the box before Charlie Davies got the final touch on the ball, while his second assist connected perfectly with the head of the in-form forward. 

FW: Tim Cahill, New York

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    Tim Cahill was handed a difficult task up top for the New York Red Bulls in place of the suspended Bradley Wright-Phillips. 

    Cahill, who is known for his aerial ability, opened the scoring at Gillette Stadium with a poke in between the legs of Jose Goncalves in the 26th minute. 

    The Australian led New York in shots with four, but it will be his missed volley attempt in the 66th minute that will be remembered most from his performance at the forward position. 

FW: Charlie Davies, New England

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    Charlie Davies scored his second brace of the postseason for the Revolution with a strike in a each half on the way to clinching New England's spot in the MLS Cup Final. 

    Davies scored in the 41st minute off a short corner before he finished off a Tierney cross with his head in the 70th minute. 

    The four postseason goals scored by the 28-year-old are one more than he scored in 18 regular-season matches for the Revolution. 

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com

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