Goal.com takes a look at the top players from the last round of Major League Soccer action.
Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls: It seems the time in London certainly prepared the Frenchman for this season, as he leads the league in goals with 5 in 4 matches. In addition, he is second with 3 assists. After this weekend’s hat trick (his first ever as a Red Bull), who knows how big of a lead in the Golden Boot standings he can get in the first quarter of the season. That is, if he can remain ahead of the person in second place- his teammate, Kenny Cooper.
Maicon Santos, DC United: The Brazilian matched his goal total of 2011 (2), in one match against his former team in FC Dallas. A beautiful long distance strike in the 28th minute started the charge for United, a team that was struggling going into the game. He then iced his strong performance with an outstanding header in the 73rd minute.Midfielders:
Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers: Wonder goals are becoming tradition for Nagbe, who scored MLS’ “Goal of the Year” for 2011, and very well could earn it again for 2012 with the strike he hit on Saturday. Even with a strong class in the 2011 SuperDraft, the former Akron forward is proving to be the top of the group in his second year for the Timbers.
Nick DeLeon, DC United: Speaking of the top of the class. In a week that saw fellow 2012 draftee Kelyn Rowe notch his first career goal for the New England Revolution, DeLeon netted a goal for the second time on the year, somehow keeping the Santos assisted pass from towering over the net and pushing it past Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman. He also added an assist to his strong opening month.
Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake: After being down 2-1 for much of the match, Real Salt Lake escaped JELD-WEN Field with a victory, knocking in two goals in the final four minutes of the game. Beckerman provided the winner, just moments after earning a yellow card. The RSL captain got just enough touch from the Fabian Espindola served ball to knock it past the diving Troy Perkins to put RSL up 3-2 in the dying seconds.
Dwayne De Rosario, DC United: With such a dominating victory that was so desperately needed, it should be no surprise that the reigning MLS MVP led the team to that win. While he has yet to notch a goal on the season, De Rosario did set up two of the goals on the night in the 4-1 win.
Chris Tierney. New England Revolution: A week after surprising Portland, New England made it two in a row with a win against the defending champs at the Home Depot Center. Tierney, the Massachusetts native, knocked in the second goal on the night, and nearly scored another one shortly after with a strong free kick that was saved by Joe Saunders.
Danny Califf, Philadelphia Union: It was not only a welcome return to PPL Park for former Union player Sebastien Le Toux, but for Califf as well. The defender returned to action for the first time since the season opener after a two game layoff due to a knee injury. Califf returned to his post as captain, and kept the strong Vancouver attack in front of him for much of the match. In addition, he nearly notched a goal, hitting a header just over the bar off of a corner in the 76th minute.
Jay Demerit, Vancouver Whitecaps: While Vancouver was unable to score a goal for the second consecutive match, the club did keep its other scoreless streak alive. The team has yet to allow a goal four games into the season. The American captain kept the desperate Union out of the net, and allowed the Whitecaps to leave Philadelphia with a point.
Chance Myers, Sporting Kansas City: Myers helped preserve the undefeated start for Kansas City, as the team defeated Chivas USA 1-0 at the Home Depot Center. After scoring the go-ahead goal in the 47th minute, Myers and company kept the Goats out of the net to preserve the victory and help keep Sporting KC six points ahead of the four teams tied for second in the Eastern Conference.
Jon Busch, San Jose Earthquakes: It has been a season of upsets already, and San Jose continued that theme by handing Seattle its first loss of the year. Busch kept the aggressive Sounders front line out of the net, notching six saves, including Fredy Montero’s last-chance shot in the 84th minute.
Bench: Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA); Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids); Danny Cruz (DC United); Teemu Tainio (New York Red Bulls); Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew); A.J. Soares (New England Revolution)
Jay Heaps, New England Revolution: The former player-turned color commentator-turned head coach has helped turn around the franchise after a disastrous start to the season. After failing to score a goal in the opening two matches, New England has now pulled off significant wins against Portland and the LA Galaxy in consecutive weeks. Expected to be near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, Heaps has the Revolution in a tie for second place in the conference. Yes, it is early, but it is still a significant turnaround for where the team was even just two weeks ago.
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