MLS Team of the Week: Larin, Davies & Piatti Headline League's Best from Week 22
The 22nd week of play in Major League Soccer was by far the craziest of the year to date. Forty-one goals hit the back of the net across 10 matches, including 10 strikes in one game on a wild Saturday night.
One of the scoring bonanzas on Saturday night happened at the Citrus Bowl, as Cyle Larin led Orlando City to a blowout win over Columbus. The Rookie of the Year frontrunner is joined by two of his teammates in the best XI from Week 22.
The six-goal outburst from D.C. United in their win over Real Salt Lake allowed two of the club's players to make the list, while Vancouver also added a pair to this side following its Cascadia Cup win over Seattle.
Due to the lack of standout play at right-back, we opted to fill our 4-1-3-2 formation with two left-backs. Other than that small switch, each player in the MLS Team of the Week fits into his regular spot.
Continue reading to see who was named to the Week 22 edition of the MLS Team of the Week.
GK: David Bingham, San Jose Earthquakes
No goalkeeper will recall Week 22 as a memorable one, but we still had to pick one to make our best XI of the weekend.
San Jose's David Bingham may not have played in the most exciting affair of the weekend, but he did make five stops and record a clean sheet at home against Portland.
Although the Earthquakes will see Sunday's draw as two points lost, Bingham can gain a bit of confidence moving forward from his showing in between the pipes.
Full-Back: Corey Ashe, Orlando City
Corey Ashe has fit in well so far since joining Orlando City from Houston in the middle of July. In his third start of the year, the left-back played a massive role in the Lions' 5-2 victory over Columbus.
In the 18th minute, Ashe set up Orlando's first goal, as he played a ball into the middle of the box from the left wing to the feet of Larin. Ashe combined with Larin once again in the 53rd minute, as the Canadian handed the hosts a two-goal advantage at the Citrus Bowl.
On the defensive half of the pitch, Ashe contributed six interceptions, five clearances and three tackles against the dangerous Columbus attack.
CB: Pa Modou Kah, Vancouver Whitecaps
Pa Modou Kah scored two beautiful goals in a Vancouver victory is a sentence no one thought they'd utter.
The 35-year-old center-back scored his first two strikes of the season in the Whitecaps' 3-0 win over Seattle. He previously netted one goal during his time in the league with Portland and Vancouver.
In the sixth minute, Kah hit a sweet volley from the middle of the box into the back of the net, while he added a clever backheel finish in the 49th minute.
Kah was in a joking mood after the 3-0 win as he told Marc Weber of The Province:
"I'm done for the year. So now it's up to Octavio [Rivero] and Kekuta [Manneh] and the rest of our striking force."
CB: Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire
In his first appearance since June 24, Jeff Larentowicz led the Chicago back line to a surprising shutout of red-hot FC Dallas on Sunday night at Toyota Park.
The 31-year-old and the rest of the Fire defensive unit contained the likes of Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz on their way to conceding just three attempts on target.
Larentowicz personally put together a sterling match at center-back with nine clearances and three blocked shots.
“Looks like he hasn’t lost a second, he just steps straight in and plays the game. Good players can do that and Jeff’s a fit kid that works hard. He’s worked very hard with our fitness coach to get him to this level to go against a team that’s pretty good, and he did very well tonight," Chicago boss Frank Yallop told Shane Murray of MLSSoccer.com.
Full-Back: Taylor Kemp, D.C. United
We could probably watch Taylor Kemp's 59th-minute goal on loop for a week and not get sick of it.
The D.C. United left-back laced a splendid strike into the net during the wild second half at RFK Stadium that saw the Black and Red and Real Salt Lake net seven of their 10 combined goals.
Kemp also contributed an assist on D.C.'s game-winning goal in the 79th minute, as he curled in a beautiful cross straight at the head of Perry Kitchen.
CDM: Matias Laba, Vancouver Whitecaps
The last two days may have been dominated by offense, but the best midfield showing of Week 22 may have come from a defensive midfielder.
Matias Laba was up to his normal tricks in front of the back four for the Whitecaps, as he and Gershon Koffie silenced the high-powered Seattle attack led by Clint Dempsey.
Laba made five tackles and five interceptions while allowing three shots on goal from the host side at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night.
RM: Darwin Ceren, Orlando City
Darwin Ceren moved into a new role on Saturday on the right side of the Orlando midfield. His move from defensive midfield to the wing was flawless, as he was one of the best players on the field at Citrus Bowl.
The highlight of the El Salvador international's night came in the 38th minute, when he banged a shot into the top part of the net following a terrific hustle play by Kaka.
On top of his impressive strike from close range, Ceren helped limit the Crew attack to five shots on goal in his club's seventh win of the season.
CAM: Ignacio Piatti, Montreal Impact
Ignacio Piatti and the Montreal Impact kicked off the crazy events of Week 22 with a crucial win over New York City FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Piatti scored twice in the 3-2 win that boosted the Impact over the red line and into sixth place in the Eastern Conference play-off race.
In the 32nd minute, Piatti latched onto an Andres Romero pass and chipped a shot over the head of NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders to extend his side's lead to two. In the 84th minute, Piatti finished off Jason Kreis' squad with a goal from the spot.
LM: Chris Rolfe, D.C. United
Long before D.C. was able to pull away with a wild victory at home, Chris Rolfe pulled Ben Olsen's side back into the contest with an impressive individual effort on the left side of the penalty area.
After his initial cross was blocked, Rolfe pickpocketed Tony Beltran and maneuvered his way toward goal before he beat RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella for the first time on Saturday.
Rolfe then added to his tally in the 54th minute, when he leveled the match at two goals apiece from the spot. The last time Rolfe scored in league play, he also bagged a brace on June 21 against New England.
FW: Charlie Davies, New England Revolution
Lost in the goings on in Orlando and D.C. on Saturday night were the three points secured by the New England Revolution over 10-man Toronto at Gillette Stadium.
Charlie Davies found the back of the net twice for the Revolution in the 3-1 win, which featured a red card shown to Toronto forward and fellow United States international Jozy Altidore.
Davies tapped in the first goal of the match in the 35th minute in the aftermath of a free-kick, while he cleaned up just in front of the net in the 62nd minute for his ninth goal of the year.
FW: Cyle Larin, Orlando City
Six days after netting a hat-trick at Yankee Stadium, Larin bagged a brace in front of the home supporters at the Citrus Bowl.
Larin knocked in a cross from Ashe in each half to move his goal total on the season into double digits. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft has scored his 11 strikes in 16 matches.
Larin's current scoring mark is level with the best season by a rookie in MLS history. He needs one more goal to eclipse Damani Ralph's 2003 campaign with Chicago.
“The more I score, the more I get confident for the next one. I definitely feel if I score one, I can score another. If I miss one, I know I will get another chance if I just keep going. I feel I am still learning but I am learning every day and every game," Larin told MLSSoccer.com's Simon Veness after the match.
GK: Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
CB: Aaron Maund (Real Salt Lake)
LB: Abdoulie Mansally (Real Salt Lake)
RM: Nick DeLeon (D.C. United)
LM: Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy)
FW: Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City)
FW: David Accam (Chicago Fire)
Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.