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Vela, Steffen and Pomykal headline Goal's Best 11 for MLS Week 2

08:38 EAT 12/03/2019
Carlos Vela LAFC MLS 2018
Mexican star Carlos Vela and U.S. national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen were among the top standouts in Major League Soccer's second week

The second week of the MLS season was a showcase for goalkeepers, with several turning in outstanding performances to lead their teams to points that wouldn't have been registered if not for several highlight-reel save.

Columbus Crew and U.S. national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen was the best of the bunch, earning his place on Goal's MLS Best XI for week two with a shutout effort on the road against New England. Steffen made a penalty kick save on a Diego Fagundez attempt, and sealed the victory by delivering a perfect long goal kick that sprang the sequence leading to the Crew's second goal in a 2-0 victory.

There is no debating which field player impressed the most this past weekend. Los Angeles FC star Carlos Vela put on a show in Sunday's win against the Portland Timbers, registered a goal and three assists in the 4-1 romp over the Timbers.

Here is a look at Goal's picks for the best players in MLS Week 2:


Steffen got the nod, but it was by no means an easy call. He edged out Sporting Kansas City's Tim Melia, D.C. United's Bill Hamid and New York City FC's Sean Johnson for this week's honors.

Hamid made the most saves of the bunch, including a pair of outstanding stops on shots by Alexander Ring. Johnson was only credited with three saves in Sunday's 0-0 draw, but all three were jaw-dropping stops. Melia saved a Marco Fabian penalty kick to help Sporting KC roll to an important 2-0 home win.


Matt Besler and Ike Opara are no longer teammates, but they join forces one more time as the center back pairing in this week's MLS Best XI defense. Besler was instrumental in Sporting KC's victory, while Opara was downroad dominant in helping Minnesota United post a shutout in Saturday's 3-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Real Salt Lake's Aaron Herrera was the best of the league's best left backs, leading RSL's defense in defensive contributions while also providing good attacking threats. Seattle's Kelvin Leerdam scored a goal in the Sounders' 2-0 in against Colorado, while also serving as a consistent threat high up the field from the right back position.

Other defenders who deserved consideration this week include Sporting KC center back Botond Barath, Minnesota United's Francisco Calvo, FC Dallas' Reto Ziegler and Seattle's Brad Smith.


Los Angeles FC's Mark-Anthony Kaye was an outstanding two-way player for LAFC on Sunday, and while Vela stole the show, Kaye's work went well beyond the goal he scored. Carlos Gruezo was a workhorse in central midfield, helping Dallas win a good battle in the middle of the field against the LA Galaxy's talented midfield.

A pair of American teenagers stood out to earn their places on the Best XI. New York City FC's James Sands was quietly outstanding, and was one of the key reasons NYCFC was able to keep the tandem of Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta relatively quiet in Sunday's 0-0 draw. FC Dallas homegrown player Paxton Pomykal was also a shoe-in after his stellar showing in FC Dallas' win against the Galaxy. 

Among the other midfielders who deserved an honorable mention, LAFC's Eduard Atuesta, Houston's Tomas Martinez and FC Dallas' Bryan Acosta were all key to their team's victories.


Vela was the easiest pick of the week, but Gyasi Zardes was also a shoe-in after his two-goal effort in the Crew's 2-0 win against New England.

The competition at forward was fierce in week two, with Minnesota United's Darwin Quintero and Seattle's Raul Ruidiaz also meriting consideration for Best XI honors for week two, along with LAFC's Adame Diomande, who came off the bench to provide a goal and assist in LAFC's rout of Portland.