Joao Plata has only played six games this season, but 2014 has already turned into a career year for the Real Salt Lake forward.
Plata scored twice — a clever turn and finish, then a one-touch tally in stoppage time — as he led RSL back from a two-goal deficit in a 3-2 win at the Chicago Fire. With five strikes this season, Plata in his fourth MLS campaign has already eclipsed his career high of four goals. Thanks to his brace against Chicago, Plata has also claimed a spot on Goal's MLS Team of the Week.
Luis Robles gets the nod in goal after preserving the New York Red Bulls' 1-0 win at FC Dallas with a string of impressive saves, including a penaly kick denial of Blas Perez. In central defense, Matt Besler makes the cut after anchoring Sporting Kansas City's back line for a 2-0 win over the Columbus Crew while also helping set up Jacob Peterson's opener with an exquisite switch. His center back partner is Chad Marshall, who headed in the 84th-minute winner in the Seattle Sounders' 2-1 triumph against the Philadelphia Union.
Typically a left back, Chris Klute earned inclusion after turning in a steady performance at right back in the Colorado Rapids' 1-0 victory over the LA Galaxy. Corey Ashe, who teed up a Will Bruin strike in the Houston Dynamo's 4-1 thumping of Chivas USA, is on the opposite side.
After completing a game-high 48 passes and assisting Bradley Wright-Phillips' goal, New York midfielder Dax McCarty makes the squad. With a pair of assists in the Portland Timbers' slump-breaking 3-2 win against D.C. United, Diego Valeri gets a spot as well. Pedro Morales, who converted a penalty kick and fired home a long-range strike within one minute of each other, rounds out the midfield following the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.
Joining Plata up top is the Dynamo's Giles Barnes, who scored a screamer and slotted home a penalty kick against Chivas. Completing the front line is Patrick Mullins, after the rookie fired an emphatic shot past Julio Cesar and drew a penalty kick in the New England Revolution's 2-1 triumph at Toronto FC.