MLS Team of the Week: Drogba, Dempsey and Nagbe Star on Decision Day

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 26, 2015

MLS Team of the Week: Drogba, Dempsey and Nagbe Star on Decision Day

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Major League Soccer's Decision Day delivered plenty of final-day fireworks as the field for the MLS Cup playoffs was determined by 10 games played over four hours on Sunday.

    Didier Drogba, Clint Dempsey and Darlington Nagbe were some of the biggest difference-makers on the last day of the regular season, powering their respective sides to the highest playoff place possible. 

    Outside of the high-profile names in the league, plenty of role players made massive contributions for teams bound for the postseason and even for a few clubs whose seasons ended on Sunday. 

    Because of the large amount of impressive attacking performances on Decision Day, we shaped our best XI from Sunday in a 4-3-3 formation.

    Continue reading to see who else landed in our final MLS Team of the Week of the 2015 regular season. 

GK: Andre Blake, Philadelphia Union

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    Give the Philadelphia Union plenty of credit for rebounding from their humiliating loss at Red Bull Arena in Week 33 with a 1-0 win over Orlando City at home to close out their season.

    Andre Blake ended his strong finish to the 2015 campaign with five saves and a shutout for Jim Curtin's men against a Lions team that entered the match with a slim chance of qualifying for the postseason. 

    The clean sheet was the second of the year for Blake, who started six of the Union's last eight league matches.

Full Back: Jorge Villafana, Portland Timbers

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    Jorge Villafana and the Portland back four made sure Colorado would not play the role of spoiler to perfection on Sunday, as they held the Rapids to two shots on goal at Providence Park. 

    The Portland left back contributed three tackles and three interceptions on the defensive half of the field in the Timbers' 4-1 win over the worst team in the Western Conference. 

    In the 63rd minute, Villafana made a surging run down the left flank to connect with a pass from Darlington Nagbe. The full back then fired a shot on goal that deflected off a defender and into the back of the next. 

    The goal was the first of the season for the defender and his first since July 4, 2014. 

CB: Damien Perrinelle, New York Red Bulls

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    With the New York Red Bulls clinging on to a one-goal lead in the 90th minute at Toyota Park, Damien Perrinelle made a crucial block in the box to turn a Chicago shot away from goal.

    Had Perrinelle not stepped in and made the big denial, the Red Bulls may have suffered a heartbreaking draw that sent the Supporters' Shield to FC Dallas. 

    But thanks to the center back, the Red Bulls clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and their second Supporters' Shield in three years.

    Perrinelle ended the contest with eight clearances, three tackles and three blocked shots. 

CB: Kendall Waston, Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Lost in all the chaos during the late games on Decision Day was Vancouver's 3-0 win over Houston at BC Place. The victory secured a bye and the No. 2 seed for Carl Robinson's side. 

    In the 72nd minute, with the Whitecaps ahead by one, Kendall Waston rose in the air and nodded in a Cristian Techera corner to hand the hosts a bit of breathing room. 

    The 27-year-old made six clearances and blocked three shots while limiting the Dynamo to two attempts on target on his team's home turf.

Full Back: Waylon Francis, Columbus Crew

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    In all honesty, both Columbus Crew full backs are deserving of a spot in the Team of the Week, but we opted to go with Waylon Francis over Harrison Afful because he recorded an assist in the 5-0 blowout win over D.C. United. 

    For most of the match at Mapfre Stadium, Francis and Afful were able to surge forward with ease, and the D.C. defense couldn't cope with anything that was thrown at them over 90 minutes. 

    Francis capped his day with an assist in the 80th minute on the Crew's final goal, as he lofted in a perfect cross in the direction of Aaron Schoenfeld, who knocked the ball into the back of the net on a sliding attempt in front of goal. 

    The statement victory allowed Gregg Berhalter's club to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. 

AM: Ethan Finlay, Columbus Crew

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    Ethan Finlay rode into the postseason on a personal and team high on Sunday as he bagged a quick-fire brace in in Columbus' win over D.C. 

    The winger struck for his first goal in the 66th minute, tapping in a pass from Jack McInerney after the Crew attack broke open the United defense. 

    One minute later, Finlay danced around Taylor Kemp in the penalty area to find space to place his 12th goal of the season past Bill Hamid.

    With 12 goals and 13 assists in 34 regular-season games, Finlay put himself on the USMNT radar in 2015. Now it's on Jurgen Klinsmann to do the right thing and give the midfielder the call-up he deserves. 

CM: Victor Ulloa, FC Dallas

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    Although they did not capture the Supporters' Shield at the end of Decision Day, FC Dallas still put in a solid performance to close out the regular season.

    Victor Ulloa was one of the standout players on the pitch at Toyota Stadium for Oscar Pareja's side as he bossed the midfield battle and scored the game-winning goal for the top team in the Western Conference. 

    The 23-year-old was active in every part of midfield, as he contributed four key passes in attack and made six tackles defensively.

    Ulloa's top contribution came in the 79th minute when he took advantage of some poor play at the back to start an attacking move. After a give-and-go with Fabian Castillo, Ulloa powered home his second goal of the season, which helped FC Dallas earn the full three points.

AM: Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers

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    The Darlington Nagbe every Portland and United States fan wants to see each week was on display on Sunday in the 4-1 win over Colorado.

    Nagbe opened the scoring at Providence Park in the fifth minute on a stunning free-kick that flew past Rapids goalkeeper Zac MacMath. 

    In the 33rd minute, Nagbe put the Timbers back into the lead with a rare headed goal that came off a cross from Lucas Melano. Nagbe also assisted on Villafana's second-half strike. 

    In the last two matches, Nagbe has shown Portland fans just how much he is capable of producing in attack. That rise in form should lead to a strong performance in the knockout round against Sporting Kansas City on Thursday at home.

FW: Clint Dempsey, Seattle Sounders

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Clint Dempsey wasted little time finding the back of the net in Seattle's match with Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.

    In the fifth minute, Dempsey finished off an Obafemi Martins pass to put the Sounders ahead by a goal. In the 20th minute, Dempsey knocked in a rebound off a Martins shot to hand Seattle a three-goal lead. 

    Thanks to Dempsey's first league tally since September 5, Seattle secured a home match in the knockout round against annual playoff foe LA.

FW: Didier Drogba, Montreal Impact

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    What else is there to say about Didier Drogba right now? 

    Simply put, the Ivorian put the Montreal Impact on his back during the stretch run of the regular season and led them to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

    Drogba changed Montreal's playoff fate in two minutes on Sunday, bagging a brace in the 54th and 55th minutes to hand the Impact a 2-1 win over rival Toronto. 

    The summer acquisition scored from a similar spot in the box on both strikes in the victory that catapulted Montreal up to third and dropped Toronto to sixth. The rivals will now play each other in the knockout round on Thursday back at Stade Saputo.

FW: Charlie Davies, New England Revolution

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    Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

    Charlie Davies and the New England attack took advantage of the mistake-prone New York City FC back four to pounce early at Yankee Stadium.

    Davies delivered the first assist of Decision Day when he played a nice pass over to Lee Nguyen on the Revolution's opening score in the second minute.

    In the 38th minute, Davies sealed a playoff berth for the Revolution as he sprinted in on goal and fired a shot past NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders from the left side of the box. 

    The goal marked the first time Davies had found the back of the net since August 1.


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    Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

    GK: Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City) 

    LB: Chris Tierney (New England Revolution) 

    AM: Cristian Techera (Vancouver Whitecaps) 

    AM: Marco Pappa (Seattle Sounders) 

    AM: Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution) 

    FW: Jack McInerney (Columbus Crew)

    FW: Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City) 

    Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    All statistics obtained from and

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