Carlos Vela continued his march toward the Major League Soccer MVP award, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic reminded his fellow LA-based star that the race is far from over.
Vela's latest heroics helped Los Angeles FC continue its winning ways, but Ibrahimovic scored a double to close the gap in the Golden Boot race and earn a place on Goal's MLS Best XI for the second straight week.
The LAFC star has become a fixture on Goal's MLS Best XI, having been chosen to five of the past six Best XIs for the week. His goal and assist helped LAFC cruise to a comfortable win against FC Cincinnati.
Will Bruin secured a place on the Best XI for Week 7 after notching two goals in Seattle's 3-2 win against previously-undefeated Toronto FC.
Here is a look at Goal's picks for the best players in MLS Week 7:
Montreal's Evan Bush posted a pair of shutouts to help the Impact earn four points from a pair of difficult matches against Eastern Conference powers. He didn't need to make a save in Montreal's 0-0 draw with D.C. United, but made 11 recoveries. He was busier in Saturday's win against the Columbus Crew, recording five saves and two punches, to go with nine recoveries.
FC Dallas' Jesse Gonzalez made five saves to lead FCD to a win against the Portland Timbers, earning Best XI honorable mention in the process to recover well from missing last week's FC Dallas loss to Philadelphia due to suspension.
Daniel Lovitz put in two strong performances last week, helping Montreal earn a pair of shutouts. He provided a threat going forward, while also contributing a plethora of defensive contributions.
Steve Birnbaum was another defender who pulled double duty last week, and he was instrumental in D.C. United containing Montreal in last Tuesday's 0-0 draw. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez recorded 11 recoveries and seven clearances in Atlanta United's 2-0 win against New England.
The list of defenders on honorable mention this week is a long one, with Chicago's Bastian Schweinsteiger, LA Galaxy fullback Jorgen Skjelvik, FC Dallas' Ryan Hollingshead and Seattle's Kelvin Leerdam turning in strong showings.
Carlos Vela has been part of all but one Best XI since the 2019 season began, and his latest inclusion was undeniable, as he factored into both goals in LAFC's latest victory. He is far from a one-man team though, with Mark-Anthony Kaye the latest LAFC midfielder to join Vela on Best XI. Kaye was all over the field, recording a jaw-dropping 16 recoveries in Saturday's win against FC Cincinnati.
Atlanta Untied's Ezequiel Barco began Saturday's match on the bench, but made a huge impact off the bench, scoring both goals in Atlanta United's 2-0 win against New England, including the best goal in MLS in Week 7.
😱😱😱— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) April 14, 2019
An absolute beauty from Barco 👏 pic.twitter.com/C5nV79XQ9u
D.C. United's Lucas Rodriguez was the driving force behind his team's 3-2 win against the Colorado Rapids, delivering a highlight-reel goal and an assist.
Honorable mention among midfielders includes Minnesota United's Osvaldo Alonso, Atlanta United's Tito Villalba, Real Salt Lake's Demar Kreilach, LA Galaxy's Jonathan Dos Santos, Houston's Alberth Elis and Sporting Kansas City's Johnny Russell.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes the Best XI for a second straight week, scoring both of the LA Galaxy's goals in their 2-0 win against the Philadelphia Union. He towered over the Union defense for his first goal, then drew a penalty and converted to up his season goal tally to six on the season.
POSTERIZED pic.twitter.com/zvfLqa2Igt— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) April 14, 2019
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi had a busy day at Allianz Field, playing a role in all three goals for New York City FC in its 3-3 draw with Minnesota United. Seattle's Will Bruin delivered two goals to match Toronto FC's Jozy Altidore in the Sounders 3-2 victory.
Altidore earned honorable mention for the third straight week after his latest excellent showing for TFC. Montreal's Maxi Urruti and Real Salt Lake's Sam Johnson also merited consideration.