MLS Team of the Week: FC Dallas Trio, Portland, Red Bulls Duo Feature
The wild and wacky 2015 Major League Soccer season took its latest unexpected turn this weekend, especially on Sunday.
Portland, D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls all put in impressive performances in their respective matches with the MLS Cup playoffs on the horizon.
Before those three sides stole the headlines on Sunday, FC Dallas continued its strong run to the postseason with a win that secured the top spot in the Western Conference.
Thanks to the tremendous showings from each of the four dominant clubs, eight of the 11 players in our latest MLS Team of the Week come from those teams.
We shaped our best 11 from Week 33 into a 3-4-3 formation in order to accommodate three forwards who impressed over the three days of action in North America.
Continue reading to see who landed a spot in our Week 33 MLS Team of the Week.
GK: Jesse Gonzalez, FC Dallas
Jesse Gonzalez helped FC Dallas clinch the top spot in the Western Conference in Week 33 with a pair of clean sheets against Vancouver and Real Salt Lake.
The 20-year-old only made one denial in the 2-0 win over the Whitecaps, but he was forced into five saves in the 1-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
Gonzalez's top save of the week came in the 36th minute on Saturday as he stopped Juan Manuel Martinez from point-blank range to keep the match scoreless.
In 10 appearances in net for the Hoops in 2015, Gonzalez has five shutouts.
Full Back: Ryan Hollingshead, FC Dallas
Ryan Hollingshead thrived under the pressure of two difficult defensive matchups for the top club in the Western Conference in Week 33.
Against the speedy Vancouver attack, the 24-year-old helped Oscar Pareja's side contain the Whitecaps to one shot on goal.
In the win over Real Salt Lake, the left back limited Luis Silva to 26 touches and made six clearances and four tackles in the victory that allowed the Hoops to seal home-field advantage for the Western Conference playoffs.
CB: Kwame Watson-Siriboe, New York City FC
Kwame Watson-Siriboe may have come out on the losing end of New York City FC's match with Orlando City on Friday night, but he delivered one of the top center-back performances of the weekend.
The former Real Salt Lake defender, aged 28, opened the scoring at the Citrus Bowl in the 45th minute as he knocked in the remnants of a NYCFC corner for his first career MLS goal.
Watson-Siriboe also made eight interceptions, four tackles and three clearances in the tight defeat to the Lions.
Full Back: Kemar Lawrence, New York Red Bulls
The New York Red Bulls absolutely dominated the Philadelphia Union on Sunday. Left-back Kemar Lawrence was one of three different scorers in the 4-1 win at Red Bull Arena.
The 23-year-old finished off a terrific first half by the hosts with his first career goal in the 44th minute on a tap-in off a cross from Lloyd Sam.
The Jamaica international also excelled on the defensive half of the pitch as he made four interceptions and kept the Union's attacking core at bay as the Red Bulls kept themselves in a great position to win the Supporters' Shield.
RM: Ethan Finlay, Columbus Crew
Ethan Finlay became the third player to record 10 goals and assists in 2015 with his 40th-minute tally on Saturday at BMO Field.
The 25-year-old handed the Crew a one-goal advantage in the Eastern Conference clash as he slotted home a shot into the left side of the net.
Thanks to the work rate of Finlay and others, Columbus was able to leave Toronto with a playoff berth in hand. The Crew will face D.C. United on Decision Day with second place in the East on the line.
CM: Diego Chara, Portland Timbers
The Portland Timbers sent shockwaves through the league on Sunday with a five-goal blitz in the second half at StubHub Center against the LA Galaxy.
Midfield enforcer Diego Chara made a rare fun forward in the 74th minute in the buildup to Portland's third strike. The 29-year-old ended up in plenty of space, and he headed home a Rodney Wallace pass beyond Donovan Ricketts.
The Colombian was also a disruptive force in front of the Timbers back four as he kept the Galaxy out of an offensive rhythm for the majority of the second half.
The big second half helped Portland move into fourth place in the Western Conference on 50 points ahead of what many think will be an easy match with Colorado at home on Decision Day.
CM: Mauro Diaz, FC Dallas
With Mauro Diaz at the helm of the FC Dallas attack, the Hoops have installed themselves as the team to beat in the Western Conference.
The 24-year-old played a key role in all three of the strikes netted by Oscar Pareja's men in the games against Vancouver and Real Salt Lake in Week 33.
The diminutive Argentinian set up Michael Barrios' 32nd-minute strike on Wednesday to open the scoring before he found the back of the net on a brilliant individual run in the 52nd minute.
In the 57th minute against RSL, Diaz played a nice pass between a pair of defenders to set up David Texeira's goal on Saturday night.
In his last five matches, Diaz has two goals and four assists for the No. 1 seed in the West.
LM: Mike Grella, New York Red Bulls
Mike Grella kicked off the ridiculous first-half performance by the Red Bulls against Philadelphia with the fastest goal in MLS history off the opening kick off.
The 28-year-old pounced on a loose ball, darted down the left wing and sent a shot into the left side of the net to beat Tim Cahill's previous record of eight seconds. Grella's goal came with seven seconds on the game clock.
In the 17th minute, Grella powered his second strike of the contest into the same part of the net after the Red Bulls picked up another defensive turnover by the Union, who were nothing short of atrocious on Sunday.
The 4-1 win clinched first place in the Eastern Conference for Jesse Marsch's side, and it put them ahead of FC Dallas by six on goal differential heading into Decision Day.
FW: Fabian Espindola, D.C. United
D.C. United was the one team on Sunday who scored on four occasions and didn't receive much attention.
Fabian Espindola contributed a goal and an assist in the Black and Red's thorough 4-0 victory over the lowly Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium.
The 30-year-old handed out an assist on D.C.'s second goal of the match as his corner connected with Bobby Boswell on the right side of the box.
The veteran Argentinian then found the back of the net himself on a deflected shot to put D.C. ahead by three goals.
Now all United have to do on Decision Day is beat Columbus on the road to earn the No. 2 seed and an important bye that would advance them to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
FW: Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers
Fanendo Adi kickstarted the Portland rally in the second half with the first of his two goals in the 65th minute. The Nigerian used a superb first touch to put the ball in perfect position for himself to shoot into the left side of the net.
Three minutes later, Adi put the Timbers in the lead with a penalty that completed his ninth career brace in MLS.
In the buildup to his club's third goal, the 25-year-old used some strong hold-up play to keep the attacking move alive before Chara headed home his strike.
Sunday's 5-2 win over LA marked the first time Adi contributed to three goals in a single game since joining the Timbers in 2014.
FW: Cyle Larin, Orlando City
Orlando City kept their bleak playoff hopes alive thanks to the exploits of Cyle Larin up top.
The Canada international scored in the 62nd and 70th minutes against fellow expansion side New York City FC to keep the Lions in the race for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference for one more week.
Larin leveled the contest at one goal apiece in the 62nd minute as he nodded in a Corey Ashe cross from the middle of the box.
Eight minutes later, the 20-year-old pounced for his 17th goal of the year as he knocked in a pass from Adrian Winter during a controversial move forward. Orlando was criticized for not playing the ball out since Javier Calle was down in the area suffering from an apparent injury.
For the Lions to earn an unlikely playoff berth on Decision Day, they need to score at least eight goals against Philadelphia and hope New England falls to NYCFC at Yankee Stadium.
GK: Steve Clark (Columbus Crew)
LB: Taylor Kemp (D.C. United)
AM: Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact)
AM: Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)
LM: Shea Salinas (San Jose Earthquakes)
FW: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
FW: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.