MLS Team of the Week: Piatti, BWP, Accam Impress in Week 33
The penultimate weekend of the Major League Soccer regular season didn't produce too much in terms of drama, but it did set the stage for what should be a thrilling Decision Day on Sunday.
Two of the remaining playoff positions in the Eastern Conference were secured by D.C. and Montreal during the first round of matches on Sunday. New England failed to capitalize on a Philadelphia loss as it fell to Chicago.
The quintet of Western Conference matches that followed left us wanting more as only five goals were scored, three of which came out of Dallas and Seattle.
Although the overall play across the league wasn't spectacular, there were some individuals who shined as their teams locked up spots in the postseason.
Continue reading to see which 11 players were selected for the Week 33 MLS Team of the Week.
GK: Paolo Tornaghi, Vancouver Whitecaps
Paolo Tornaghi made the most of a rare opportunity on Sunday with his first regular-season start in three seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The 28-year-old Italian totaled six saves in the scoreless draw between Carl Robinson's side and the San Jose Earthquakes.
The performance won't hand Tornaghi an automatic place in the starting lineup anytime soon with David Ousted the regular No. 1 goalkeeper, but it was nice to see him thrive in his first start in MLS since 2013.
RB: Tony Beltran, Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake recorded one of the six clean sheets in the Western Conference on Sunday as they played to a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City.
Tony Beltran helped the Claret and Cobalt leave the field unblemished as he made five clearances, two interceptions and a pair of tackles.
Earning a point at home may seem disappointing, but at this stage in the season every point counts for Jeff Cassar's men.
RSL enter Decision Day in fourth place with 46 points, but in order to guarantee a postseason position they must take at least a point out of Seattle.
CB: Tim Parker, Vancouver Whitecaps
Both Vancouver center backs had a busy night in front of Tornaghi as Tim Parker and Kendall Waston combined for 23 clearances.
Parker also added three interceptions, a tackle and a blocked shot to his 13 clearances in the 0-0 draw at Avaya Stadium.
The draw didn't do anything to help the Whitecaps in 2016 since they're already eliminated from the postseason, but it could build a nice foundation for 2017, especially if they win on Decision Day against Portland.
Another solid performance at the back would help Parker's United States men's national team stock as well. The 23-year-old is on track to be a part of the annual January camp roster.
CB: Bobby Boswell, D.C. United
It's hard to find a team in the Western hemisphere playing better than D.C. United right now.
The Black and Red cruised to their fourth consecutive win on Sunday, downing New York City FC 3-1 in front of a packed house at RFK Stadium.
Center back Bobby Boswell was one of three scorers for Ben Olsen's side in the victory. Boswell knocked in D.C.'s second in the 31st minute off a Lloyd Sam corner.
The win clinched a playoff spot for United, who have lost one game dating back to July 31.
LB: Ryan Hollingshead, FC Dallas
A late second-half surge put FC Dallas in pole position to win the Supporters' Shield on Decision Day.
Left back Ryan Hollingshead was able to keep Seattle's attack quiet on the right wing in order to hand his teammates in attack a chance to come back.
Hollingshead made six interceptions and three clearances while limiting Herculez Gomez to 14 touches and zero shots on goal.
The second-half tallies from Maximiliano Urruti and Carlos Ruiz combined with Colorado's loss to Portland put FC Dallas two points ahead of the Rapids in the Supporters' Shield standings entering the final day of the regular season.
MID: Lloyd Sam, D.C. United
D.C.'s midseason acquisitions of Lloyd Sam and Patrick Mullins have boosted the club to where it is at the moment.
Sam, who's been the quieter of the two new additions, produced a pair of assists on D.C.'s first two tallies on Sunday.
The former New York Red Bulls man helped open the scoring in the 27th minute as his pass through the box from the right wing found Mullins. Sam was at it again four minutes later as he found Boswell on a corner.
D.C. heads into the final day of the regular season in fourth place in the Eastern Conference thanks to a six-game unbeaten run.
MID: Roger Espinoza, Sporting Kansas City
Roger Espinoza was lined up in a forward role in Peter Vermes' 4-3-3 formation, but he made more contributions on the defensive side of the pitch for Sporting Kansas City.
The 29-year-old Honduran made seven interceptions and four tackles while holding Juan Manuel Martinez to a single shot on target at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Sunday's point in Utah may turn out to be a big one for Sporting KC if it qualifies for the postseason.
Sporting is currently level on points with Portland in the race for sixth but holds a slim tiebreaker lead in goal differential. A loss on Sunday would've made things a little more difficult for Sporting entering the Decision Day clash with San Jose.
MID: Jack Jewsbury, Portland Timbers
Jack Jewsbury's final regular-season home game in Portland was one to remember as he delivered a strong performance and the Timbers won 1-0 to stay alive in the postseason mix.
The 35-year-old, who is retiring at the end of the season, was a contributor in both aspects of the match as he made five key passes, three tackles and three interceptions.
The 1-0 win over Colorado kept the Timbers within striking distance of the three teams above them in the Western Conference playoff race.
Portland must take care of business against Vancouver on Decision Day and get a little bit of help from other matches to make it back to the postseason.
MID: David Accam, Chicago Fire
David Accam and the Chicago Fire threw a wrench in New England's postseason plans as they earned a surprising 2-1 win at Toyota Park.
Accam helped the Fire grab an early lead in the ninth minute as he set up Brandon Vincent on the left wing before the defender picked out Michael de Leeuw with a cross.
The Ghanaian struck for the game-winner in the 80th minute with both teams down a man. Accam used his speed to race past a pair of defenders and beat Bobby Shuttleworth.
Sunday's win was nothing but a moral victory for the Fire as they build toward being a contender in Veljko Paunovic's second year in charge.
FW: Ignacio Piatti, Montreal Impact
It doesn't matter where Didier Drogba is if Ignacio Piatti continues to produce like he has all season for the Montreal Impact.
The brilliant Argentinian midfielder bagged a brace for the Drogba-less Impact in their 2-2 draw with Toronto FC at Saputo Stadium.
Piatti opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a blast from the left edge of the box and added his second from the spot in the 55th minute.
The draw, combined with other results across the Eastern Conference, all but assured a knockout-round match between D.C. and Montreal. All that's left to be decided is who hosts the match.
FW: Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
We're starting to expect Bradley Wright-Phillips to net more than one goal in every game.
The English forward was at it again for the Red Bulls on Sunday as he scored a pair of tallies in the 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew.
Wright-Phillips scored his 22nd goal of the season in the 58th minute as he used clever footwork to get around Nicolai Naess.
The Golden Boot leader found the back of the net 12 minutes later as he tapped in Aurelien Collin's flick-on off Sacha Kljestan's corner.
The win essentially handed the Red Bulls the No. 1 seed in the East and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
GK: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes)
CB: Jonathan Campbell (Chicago Fire)
CB: Seb Hines (Orlando City)
LB: Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire)
MID: Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas)
FW: Patrick Mullins (D.C. United)
FW: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC)
Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.