MLS Team of the Week: Drogba, Lampard, Kaka Star in Week 30
The 20th season of Major League Soccer has seen plenty of all-time greats join the ranks and in Week 30 some of those superstars were at their best.
Didier Drogba stole most of the headlines for his brace in Montreal's win over slumping D.C. United, but Kaka and Frank Lampard also played key roles for their respective sides in victories this weekend.
The trio of experienced veterans are joined by a bright rookie in the latest edition of our MLS Team of the Week.
Although Drogba's goals may have been the most appealing visually, Cyle Larin produced the best single-game performance of the week as he scored on three occasions in Orlando City's shock road win over the New York Red Bulls.
Also included in the best 11 from Week 30 are a pair of Portland Timbers, a goalkeeper who 'stood on his head' and then some, and a midfielder who was sent off immediately after scoring the game-winning goal for his club on Sunday.
Due to the plethora of standout attacking showings in Week 30, we shaped out Team of the Week in a 3-4-3.
Continue reading to see who joined Drogba, Lampard and Kaka in thee MLS Team of the Week.
GK: Andre Blake, Philadelphia Union
Not much was expected of the side Philadelphia Union boss Jim Curtin fielded on Saturday night, but the mainly reserve squad surprised many by earning a point in the 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium four days before the U.S. Open Cup final.
Andre Blake came up big in net for the Union as he made 10 saves against a dangerous New England attack that grew more desperate as time dwindled down.
In the second half, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft put on a marvelous goalkeeping display as he stopped the attacking onslaught by the Revs with a few brilliant saves from close range.
Blake's 10 denials tied the MLS season high and broke the club single-game record, per the Union's Chris Winkler.
RB: Alvas Powell, Portland Timbers
Alvas Powell and the Portland Timbers earned a massive road victory on Saturday as they defeated Columbus 2-1 at Mapfre Stadium.
The 21-year-old, who is, arguably, the best defensive full-back in the league, limited Crew winger Justin Meram to one shot on goal while making five interceptions and four clearances.
Portland's 12th win of 2015 allowed it to remain one point ahead of San Jose in the race for sixth place in the Western Conference.
CB: Zach Scott, Seattle Sounders
Seattle remained in fourth place in the Western Conference after Week 30 thanks to a point earned at Sporting Park on Sunday.
Against Sporting Kansas City's squad of second-teamers, Zach Scott turned in a strong performance at the back for Sigi Schmid's side.
Scott, who was paired with Brad Evans at center-back, helped keep the Sporting KC starters at bay as they recorded just two shots on goal.
Although the hosts found an equalizer through Dom Dwyer in the second half, the 35-year-old still held firm as Dom Dwyer and Bernardo Anor attempted to pull an unlikely three points from the contest.
Scott totaled 10 clearances, seven interceptions and won three aerial duels as the Sounders picked up their 46th point of the year in the 1-1 draw.
LB: Amadou Dia, Sporting Kansas City
Amadou Dia took advantage of Peter Vermes' squad rotation ahead of the U.S. Open Cup final as he impressed on the left flank in the 1-1 draw with Seattle.
Dia, who limited the influence of Nelson Valdez in the Sounders attack, set up the club's 79th-minute equalizer as he played a perfect ball across goal to the feet of Dom Dwyer at the far post.
RM: Matias Perez Garcia, San Jose Earthquakes
Matias Perez Garcia was one of three San Jose attackers who shined in the vital tilt against Real Salt Lake on Sunday.
Perez Garcia, who made six key passes, scored with his only shot on goal in the 87th minute as his effort from outside the box deflected off a defender past Nick Rimando.
Unfortunately for the creative Argentinian, however, he received a second yellow card seconds later as he removed his shirt during the celebration.
Earning the red card was one of the only things Perez Garcia, 30, did wrong at Avaya Stadium, but before he left the pitch, he handed San Jose some much-needed breathing room in the chase for sixth place in the Western Conference.
CM: Frank Lampard, New York City FC
New York City FC put in an impressive showing at BC Place on Saturday, but the performances of most individuals will be overshadowed by a poor penalty call that handed them a late 2-1 win.
Before the controversial call became the main talking point from the fixture, Frank Lampard turned some heads as he displayed more chemistry with his teammates on the turf in Vancouver.
Lampard opened the scoring in the 29th minute as he surged into the box to send Angelino's cross into the right side of the net. The 37-year-old Chelsea legend was able to find plenty of space in between the Vancouver defenders thanks to the play of Andrea Pirlo in front of the back four.
"I have to say a big thanks to the players who made it,” Lampard explained to Dylan Butler of MLSSoccer.com about his goal. “I think Andrea’s ball was top class and Angelino played a fantastic cross and I arrived at the right time. I think it was a very good team goal.”
The midfielder ended the match with five shots, which tied David Villa for a team high. Although the push for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference has come too late in the season, Lampard and his NYCFC teammates are laying a solid foundation for the 2016 season in the final weeks of the current campaign.
CM: Kaka, Orlando City
Orlando City kept its bleak playoff hopes alive on Friday night with a commanding 5-2 win on the road at Red Bull Arena.
Kaka was one of the driving forces in attack for the Lions as he handed out a trio of assists in the win that helped the Lions remain four points back of sixth-place Montreal in the Western Conference.
In the 24th minute, Kaka provided good service from the left corner flag to the head of Cyle Larin for Orlando's first goal. In the buildup to the Lions' second strike, Kaka sprung Carlos Rivas on a counter down the left wing. With time winding down in the second half, the Brazilian midfield mastermind played a quick one-two with Bryan Rochez to set up the Honduran's 93rd-minute strike.
Thanks to his three-assist performance on Friday, Kaka now has a chance to reach double digits in goals and assists in his debut MLS season. He currently has nine goals and seven assists in 26 matches.
LM: Vicente Sanchez, Colorado Rapids
Without the electric attacking display turned in by Vicente Sanchez, the Colorado Rapids would have had a lifeless night in the final third at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The 35-year-old provided Pablo Mastroeni's side with a pulse in the eighth minute as he bounced a free-kick from distance into the bottom-left part of the net to level the contest with Houston at one-goal apiece.
The Argentinian took away Houston's lead for a second time in the 44th minute with a darting run down the right wing that produced a give-and-go with Dillon Powers.
Although Colorado would eventually end up losing, the final score may have been a lot worse than 3-2 if Sanchez didn't respond to Houston's early opener right away.
FW: Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers
History tells us when Fanendo Adi scores once, he is likely to find the back of the net again in the same game.
Portland's lanky Nigerian forward bagged his eighth brace since joining the club in May 2014 in the 2-1 win over Columbus on Saturday.
The 24-year-old scored his first goal of the match in the 28th minute after Darlington Nagbe cut through the Crew defense to provide him with an assist at the top of the box.
Five minutes into the second half, Adi slotted home Rodney Wallace's pass from the left wing at the near post to hand the Timbers a valuable victory against an Eastern Conference foe.
FW: Cyle Larin, Orlando City
Cyle Larin's second hat-trick and third multi-goal match helped him earn the single-season rookie scoring record on Friday at Red Bull Arena.
The Canada international broke the record in the 24th minute as he nodded in Kaka's corner at the near post. In the 43rd and 61st minutes, Larin finished off a pair of strong attacking moves that broke down the Red Bulls defense.
With his second three-goal performance of the season, the 20-year-old became the first rookie and first player for an expansion team to record a pair of hat-tricks in a season. He also became the youngest MLS player to earn two hat-tricks, per ESPN's Paul Carr.
Friday's hat-trick marked the first time since August 1 that Larin struck the back of the net. Before netting his first strike against the New York Red Bulls, Larin amassed a scoreless streak of 582 minutes.
FW: Didier Drogba, Montreal Impact
Didier Drogba continued Montreal's push toward the playoffs with two spectacular first-half goals in the 2-0 win over struggling D.C. on Saturday at Stade Saputo.
The Ivorian scored the first goal of the match in the fourth minute with a brilliant free-kick from the middle of the pitch. Seven minutes later, Drogba was celebrating his second tally of the match thanks to a solid individual effort that caught both Bill Hamid and Steve Birnbaum off guard.
The tallies were the second and third of the week for Drogba, who also headed home a strike against Chicago on Wednesday.
Despite his fantastic outing on Saturday, Drogba was quick to name one of his teammates as the man of the match.
“Dilly Duka had a fantastic game,” Drogba said according to Olivier Tremblay of MLSSoccer.com. “We don’t say it enough, but he harassed the opponent for 90 minutes.... Today, [man of the match] would be Dilly Duka. The work that he’s been doing for this team recently, he deserves it as much as I did.”
GK: Josh Saunders (New York City FC)
CB: Wandrille Lefevre (Montreal Impact)
AM: Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)
AM: Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
FW: Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
FW: Gilberto (Chicago Fire)
FW: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.