[MLS: Starting XI] Who would you take? Veterans like Robbie Keane and Federico Higuain or youngsters like Juan Agudelo, Mauro Diaz and Deshorn Brown? On a weekend when tensions boiled over at several locales, MLS's attacking stars still managed to claim the spotlight. Here's who we'll be talking about and hope to hear from on Monday ...
11. DESHORN BROWN. The Jamaican continues to make a strong case for Rookie of the Year. The Jamaican out
of UCF scored his seventh goal of the season to lead the Rapids to a 2-0 win over Vancouver that extended their unbeaten run to nine games.
10. LANDON DONOVAN. Donovan didn't score in the LA Galaxy's 4-2 win over Real Salt Lake, so he remains on 130 career goals, just four behind the MLS record held by Jeff Cunningham. But he assisted on Omar Gonzalez's goal to give him 114 in his career, tying Carlos Valderrama for the No. 2 spot on the all-time MLS list, behind Steve Ralston with 135.
DIEGO VALERI. The Argentine posted his ninth and 10th assists of the season -- the first on a corner kick and the second on a sweet through ball -- establishing a Portland record for most
assists in the single season in the Timbers' 2-1 win over FC Dallas.
8. MAURO DIAZ. FC Dallas' winless streak is now 11 games following its loss at
Portland, but there was one positive. The young Argentine midfielder scored in his first MLS start and he did a good job of running the Dallas offense that has been shut out in six of the 11 games
during its slide.
7. MARCO SCHALLIBAUM. The Impact coach belies the stereotype of the reserved
Swiss. He got tossed from his third MLS game this season and wasn't exactly contrite afterward. Schallibaum was upset that D.C. United's James Riley sent one of his players, Justin Mapp, flying into the scorer's table and had to be restrained by assistant coach
Mauro Biello and Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier. “I will probably be suspended," he told the Montreal Gazette, "but I don’t think it’s fair.”
6. JUAN AGUDELO. The one thing the 20-year-old forward was worried about was whether his audacious backheel chip had cleared the line before Chicago's Bakary Soumare came flying in to knock the ball away. “I’m sure it went in," Agudelo, who was playing his first game in two months, told the Boston Herald. "I knew it was across the line. I just hoped the referee saw it
was across the line. I was so glad to see the linesman raise his flag to signal that it was across the line." It stands as one of the favorites of MLS Goal of the Year.
New England-Chicago Highlights (Agudelo Goal @2:03):
5. BAKARY SOUMARE. Soumare was in the middle of the action during the tense Revs-Fire game that saw Chicago coach Frank Klopas
get tossed for dissent. They were unhappy with the New England trainer for what they thought was time-wasting late in the game, and Soumare went over to talk with trainer afterward. When New England
forward Sare Sene -- a good friend of Soumare's -- went over to get Soumare away, both were issued red cards. By the way, Soumare doesn't think Agudelo's shot
crossed the line. “In my opinion," he told the Fire web site,
"if it went in, there's no way I would have been able to pull it out of the goal like that.”
4. GILES BARNES. Barnes was ever so briefly a teammate of Clint Dempsey's
at Fulham in 2009 before Barnes' career in England started to sputter, and he moved to MLS on a free transfer last summer, but he overshadowed Dempsey, making his first start for Seattle, with two
goals four minutes apart in the first half -- including a bomb from more than 30 yards out -- in Houston's 3-1 win over the Sounders.
Barnes Goal #2:
3. JASON KREIS. Kreis has built Real Salt Lake into a model MLS team, respected for its style of play and its continuity. Despite its 4-2 loss at Los Angeles
on Saturday, RSL still leads the Supporters' Shield race and has reached the Open Cup final for the first time. Kreis' contract is up at the end of the year, and the ongoing success he's had with a
rebuilt team makes him a hot commodity. "It’s coach of the year type stuff, and I don’t say that lightly," Garth Lagerwey told the Salt Lake Tribune. "I don’t think we’ve ever espoused that view before."
2. FEDERICO HIGUAIN. After the Argentine scored two goals for the second game in a row to lead Columbus to a 2-0 win over Toronto FC, Toronto forward Jeremy Brockie paid tribute to Higuain, calling him the best player in MLS. "When he’s playing like he did today -- hats off," he said.
1. ROBBIE KEANE. About the only player you could say is better when he is healthy and available is Keane. The
Irishman leads the most lethal attack on the break in the league, as it showed against RSL. Keane's hat trick led the Galaxy to a 4-2 win that he hopes will jumpstart the two-time defending champions.