MLS Team of the Week: LA Galaxy Trio Shine, Villa's Scoring Form Continues
While you were busy debating Clint Dempsey's suspension and chasing Andrea Pirlo through the streets of New York City, you might have missed plenty of quality performances on the field in Major League Soccer.
In Week 16, a few of the top franchises delivered arguably their best performances of the year. The LA Galaxy stole most of the on-field headlines with a romp at home over the Philadelphia Union. Thanks to their five-goal output, the Galaxy earned three spots in the latest MLS Team of the Week.
Some of the league's most creative midfielders and forwards turned in plenty of brilliant individual performances, and that led us to choose a 4-3-3 formation for our best XI from Week 16.
Continue reading to see who joined the Galaxy trio in our latest MLS Team of the Week.
GK: David Ousted, Vancouver Whitecaps
Say what you want about Bradley Wright-Phillips' poor penalty taking, but the box score still tells us David Ousted saved two spot kicks Saturday night.
The Danish goalkeeper was forced into action early in the match after Steven Beitashour brought down Sal Zizzo in the box in the fourth minute. On the ensuing penalty, Ousted dived to his right and stopped Wright-Phillips.
In the 65th minute, Ousted bailed out Beitashour again with his second denial of Wright-Phillips. Ousted, who had never saved a penalty in his Whitecaps career before Saturday, became the third player in league history to stop two spot kicks in one match.
"A lot of credit goes out to our video guys back in Vancouver. They do all the video work and give me all the penalties of the other team we're going to face," Ousted said after the match, per Michael McColl of MLSSoccer.com.
The 'keeper continued: "It helps me get ready and it helps me analyze what we're up against. You do the analysis before the games and you look for the little tells when you're standing and looking at him. Luckily I read it right today and I got the saves."
RB: RJ Allen, New York City FC
New York City FC extended its unbeaten run to four games Saturday night with a 2-0 road win over Toronto FC.
One of the unlikely defensive stars of the contest was 25-year-old right back RJ Allen, who made seven clearances and six tackles in the victory at BMO Field.
Allen and the NYCFC back four limited Sebastian Giovinco to one shot on target and the entire Toronto attack to just four shots on goal over 90 minutes.
CB: Omar Gonzalez, LA Galaxy
The Galaxy attackers will receive a lot of attention in the coming days thanks to their outburst at StubHub Center, but Omar Gonzalez also deserves some credit for the 5-1 win over Philadelphia.
Gonzalez, who many see as the best defender in the league this season, made six interceptions and five clearances against the Eastern Conference side.
The United States international also earned his third assist of the season in the 59th minute, when he headed the ball over to Stefan Ishizaki on the Galaxy's fourth strike of the match.
CB: Clarence Goodson, San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose recorded its second win at CenturyLink Field this season on Saturday by way of a 2-0 victory over the depleted Sounders.
Center back Clarence Goodson's play was one of the factors that allowed the Earthquakes to leave Seattle with a clean sheet.
Goodson totaled eight clearances, six interceptions and four tackles against one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
LB: Donny Toia, Montreal Impact
Donny Toia produced one of Week 16's best bits of individual skill on his 36th-minute goal at Stade Saputo on Saturday night.
The Montreal left back outsmarted Brek Shea on a corner-kick routine and found plenty of space at the near post to connect with Marco Donadel's pass.
The goal was the first in 37 career MLS contests for Toia, who moved to the Impact after Chivas USA dissolved at the end of the 2014 season.
"I just made a near-post run, got away from my defender and it was a great ball in. I just got my head on it," Toia said after the match, per Sportsnet.
CM: Matias Perez Garcia, San Jose Earthquakes
Matias Perez Garcia scored one of the top individual goals of the season during the Earthquakes' two-goal victory in Cascadia on Saturday.
The dynamic attacking midfielder cut through and froze the Seattle defense in the 73rd minute to hand San Jose a two-goal advantage against the defending Supporters' Shield champions.
Perez Garcia also dished out five key passes in the win, and he contributed an assist on Sanna Nyassi's 28th-minute opener.
CM: Juninho, LA Galaxy
Juninho unleashed a Robbie Keane-esque celebration in the 34th minute of the Galaxy's blowout win at home following his second goal of the season.
The Brazilian netted the Galaxy's second tally of the night from the middle of the box after Gyasi Zardes played a splendid ball over to him from the left wing.
The key cog in the Galaxy midfield also played a key role in the build to Stefan Ishizaki's goal.
The last time Juninho recorded a goal and an assist in regular-season play was June 18, 2011, in a 3-1 win over Colorado.
CM: Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake
Javier Morales brought his usual bag of tricks and more to the pitch at Rio Tinto Stadium on Sunday night during Real Salt Lake's 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City.
The Argentinian midfield maestro started his night off in fine fashion in the 15th minute, when he connected with Sebastian Jaime on a free-kick via a header for the first RSL goal of the match.
During the Claret and Cobalt's relentless search for a game-winning goal, Morales made 10 key passes and 76 touches. His final key pass of the night was an assist on Olmes Garcia's 90th-minute winner.
FW: Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy
No matter which team you support, you have to appreciate the growth shown by Gyasi Zardes in 2015.
The young forward played one of his best games as a professional Saturday night, earning a goal and two assists in the Galaxy's sixth victory of the season.
"I think he had a good night and a good goal with a great ball from Keane. He is getting better," LA boss Bruce Arena said after the match, per the club's official website.
Arena also admitted the Galaxy can play better than they did against one of the weaker teams in the East.
"So it was far from a complete victory tonight, and we have a way to go. But it is good to have some of these players back, it gives us a little bit more quality obviously in the final third. But we can play better than we did today," Arena said, relayed by the club's website.
FW: David Villa, New York City FC
David Villa continued his impressive form Saturday, netting both of NYCFC's goals in the star-studded clash against Toronto.
Villa recorded the first tally of the match from the spot in the eighth minute after Benoit Cheyrou was adjudged to have handled in the box.
In the 58th minute, Villa slotted his sixth goal of the season into the back of the net following a Toronto turnover in the final third.
FW: Chris Rolfe, D.C. United
Chris Rolfe's two goals brought D.C. United back from a one-goal deficit against New England on Sunday at RFK Stadium.
The veteran forward sprung into action in the 70th minute, when he connected with Fabian Espindola's cross at the left post. Eleven minutes later, Rolfe stepped up at the spot and beat Bobby Shuttleworth to hand Ben Olsen's side three points.
Rolfe's fifth and sixth goals of the season allowed the Black and Red to open up a seven-point advantage over the Revolution in the East.
GK: Josh Saunders (New York City FC)
CB: Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact)
RM: Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids)
CM: Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)
LM: Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver Whitecaps)
FW: Maximiliano Urruti (Portland Timbers)
FW: Fabian Espindola (D.C. United)
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.