MLS Team of the Week: McCarty, BWP, Kaka, Larin Shine During Rivalry Week
Major League Soccer's Rivalry Week may not have lived up to the hype in terms of competition on the pitch, but it certainly produced some interesting results.
The biggest eye-popper from Week 12 was the New York Red Bulls' 7-0 thrashing of New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. Dax McCarty and Bradley Wright-Phillips bagged a brace each in the victory. The impressive performances from the Red Bulls duo placed them at the forefront of our Bleacher Report MLS Team of the Week.
Outside of the rivalry matches, FC Dallas, Colorado Rapids and Orlando City turned in solid 90-minute showings across North America. Each team has multiple players in Week 12's best XI.
Continue reading to see who joined the aforementioned players in our latest MLS best XI.
GK: Joe Bendik, Orlando City
Before Orlando City struck for a late winner at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday night, Joe Bendik made a few splendid saves to preserve at least a point against the Montreal Impact.
Bendik's strong second half began in the 54th minute, when he kept out a surging Dominic Oduro on the right side of the penalty area. Seventeen minutes later, the former Toronto FC man rushed off his line to deny Oduro again.
The top denial from the Orlando No. 1 came in the 79th minute, as he used quick reflexes to send an Ambroise Oyongo attempt away from the net.
In his last two matches, the 27-year-old has recorded a total of 16 saves.
RB: Atiba Harris, FC Dallas
Atiba Harris finished off a furious first half of scoring at Gillette Stadium with the kind of headed strike we're used to seeing from a forward.
The FC Dallas right-back connected with Kellyn Acosta's corner at the near post to level the match with the New England Revolution at two goals apiece.
The 31-year-old also made plenty of contributions in defense, as he made eight interceptions in his side's 4-2 road victory.
CB: Justen Glad, Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake earned their second win in Kansas City this season on Saturday night.
Nineteen-year-old center-back Justen Glad helped the Claret and Cobalt achieve three points against the club's bitter rivals, Sporting Kansas City, making 10 interceptions and nine clearances.
Glad and Aaron Maund are in the process of becoming one of the most formidable center-back tandems in MLS. Don't be surprised if you hear more praise for the young defender during the rest of the season. Glad has been as valuable to RSL's success as attackers Joao Plata, Juan Manuel Martinez and Yura Movsisyan.
CB: Axel Sjoberg, Colorado Rapids
As hard as it is to believe, the Colorado Rapids look like the best team in MLS.
The Supporters' Shield leaders went into Seattle and took three points from the Sounders on Saturday thanks to Axel Sjoberg's 43rd-minute header.
The Swedish center-back, who stands at 6'7", didn't have to leap to get his noggin on Marc Burch's corner from the left wing on his way to hitting the back of the net.
Sjoberg also helped the Rapids earn their fifth 1-0 victory of the 2016 campaign. The team's only shutouts have come in those one-goal victories.
LB: Marc Burch, Colorado Rapids
Burch featured in a key role in the two biggest moments of Colorado's 1-0 win over the Sounders at CenturyLink Field.
The veteran left-back assisted Sjoberg's opener and cleared a Clint Dempsey shot off the line in the 72nd minute to keep Pablo Mastroeni's men in the lead.
Through 13 games, the Rapids have the best defensive record in the league. Colorado has conceded on just nine occasions. Every other team in MLS has a goals-against total over 10.
CM: Kaka, Orlando City
Kaka delivered one of his best performances of the young season in Orlando's victory over the Impact on Saturday.
The Brazilian legend notched an assist on each of Cyle Larin's tallies in the 2-1 home win by Adrian Heath's side.
In the 43rd minute, the designated player whipped a free-kick from the left wing onto the head of Larin to level the contest at one goal apiece. During the buildup to Larin's 87th-minute game-winner, Kaka played a beautiful give-and-go with Julio Baptista before he handed out the winning assist to Larin.
CM: Dax McCarty, New York Red Bulls
Captain Dax McCarty was the catalyst for the Red Bulls' destruction of NYCFC on Saturday afternoon.
The American midfielder started the scoring three minutes into the New York derby as he headed a corner past Josh Saunders. The 5'9" player got loose on a set piece again in the 51st minute to extend the Red Bulls advantage to four goals.
The 29-year-old and his teammates left Yankee Stadium with three key points in the Eastern Conference table and a four-game winning streak against NYCFC.
CM: Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers
Darlington Nagbe made his best case to start for the United States at the Copa America Centenario with his performance on Sunday.
The creative midfielder scored on a terrific free-kick in the 82nd minute to finish off a complete showing at Providence Park for the Portland Timbers.
Nagbe attempted a total of eight shots and dished out three key passes in Portland's 4-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Based off his play in Week 12, the 25-year-old should receive a spot in Jurgen Klinsmann's starting XI for one of the two pre-Copa friendlies to prove his worth on the international stage.
FW: Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
No one loves to play against NYCFC more than Bradley Wright-Phillips.
The English marksman netted two of the seven Red Bulls tallies on Saturday, and he provided Alex Muyl with an assist on his 56th-minute strike.
The 31-year-old has six goals in four games against NYCFC, including a pair of braces.
FW: Tesho Akindele, FC Dallas
Tesho Akindele made a contribution to the scoresheet for the first time since April 13 with his brace in FC Dallas' victory versus New England.
The 24-year-old Canada international opened the scoring with a fifth-minute penalty before he sealed three points for Oscar Pareja's side in the 90th minute.
Akindele's brace helped FC Dallas keep pace with Colorado in the race for first in the Western Conference. FC Dallas sit one point behind the Rapids heading into Week 13.
FW: Cyle Larin, Orlando City
Larin bolstered his resume with his first two-goal performance of the season on Saturday.
The 21-year-old headed home a Kaka free-kick just before half-time, and he clinched three points for the Lions in the 87th minute.
Since entering MLS as a rookie in 2015, the Canada international has 23 goals in 37 matches. If he extends his form into the rest of the 2016 campaign, Larin could be off to Europe sooner rather than later.
GK: Clint Irwin (Toronto FC)
CB: Richie Marquez (Philadelphia Union)
RM: Justin Meram (Columbus Crew)
CM: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)
LM: Mike Grella (New York Red Bulls)
FW: Gilberto (Chicago Fire)
FW: Jack McInerney (Portland Timbers)
Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.