MLS Week 5: The Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week

Pat Onstad ( 

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Call Week Five of the MLS season the week of the goalkeepers because several net-minders delivered outstanding performances for their clubs

From Pat Onstad making a clutch penalty kick save, to Zach Thornton delivering yet another quality outing, to Jon Conway returning from suspension to post a shutout for New York, goalkeepers as a group enjoyed a great week.

It was also a week that saw three winless teams put on strong performances to record victories. The Houston Dynamo looked like the Houston of old, riding a tough defense and the stellar goalkeeping of Onstad, while the Red Bulls showed glimpses of the team that reached last year's MLS Cup final. FC Dallas also escaped the win-less rankings, riding a potent attack and a timely handball call against Toronto late to record a sorely-needed victory.

Here are the Best XI and World XI moments, performances and scenes from Week Five, along with the SBI MLS Team of the Week:

Week Five Best XI

Ben Olsen's last-minute equalizer vs. New England.

Pat Onstad's penalty kick save.

Zach Thornton's handful of stellar reaction saves.

Josh Wolff showing flashes of his old self with a brace.

Kevin Hartman's second-half save-fest.

Juan Pablo Angel scoring the first of what should be many goals this year.

Kevin Goldthwaite's acrobatic goal-line clearance. (Yes, I forgot to include this originally, but it's a must)

Kenny Cooper's long-range smash into the bottom corner.

Chukwidi Chijindu becoming the latest Chivas USA newcomer to score in the season's first month.

Jonathan Bornstein looking like a player ready to challenge for the USMNT left back job.

 Bryan Jordan's gutsy equalizer for the Galaxy.

MLS Week Five Worst XI

The low attendances at Toyota Park, Pizza Hut Park and Giants Stadium.

New England's defense giving up an equalizer on a last-minute set-piece.

Wells Thompson learning the hard way that you don't rile up veterans like Ben Olsen

The questionable red card given to Jeremy Hall.

San Jose's offense failing to score multiple goals against LA's suspect defense.

Chicago blowing a two-goal lead

Fredy Montero showing flashes, but not looking nearly as sharp as he did the first two weeks.

Toronto FC's latestdisappointing performance to go winless in four.

Colorado's offenseonce again struggling to find anybody but Conor Casey to find quality scoring chances.

Real Salt Lakeresting top defender Jamison Olave against struggling Red Bulls and losing.

FC Dallas and Toronto FC playing one of the ugliest five-goal games you'll ever see.

SBI MLS Team of the Week (Week 5)

———-Kenny Cooper—–Brian McBride—-Mac Kandji————

——————————Shalrie Joseph—————————–

Josh Wolff——————————————-Cuauhtemoc Blanco

———————————Ben Olsen———————————

Jonathan Bornstein——–Kevin Goldthwaite———Alfredo Pacheco

———————————–Pat Onstad—————————-

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Hartman, Zach Thornton, Jon Conway, Drew Moor, Geoff Cameron, Chris Leitch, Amado Guevara, Ricardo Clark, Brian Ching.


What do you think of this week's selections? What player or play or performance is missing from the lists? Who should have made Team of the Week that didn't? Who's inclusion were you happy to see?

Share your thoughts below.

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55 Responses to MLS Week 5: The Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week

  1. nico says:

    Putting Montero’s performance in the ‘Worst XI’ seems pretty harsh.

  2. joe k says:

    i never thought i’d see the day when kevin goldthwaite was the defender of the week. but he did have just about the best game of his career. let’s hope he can keep it up!

  3. DC Josh says:

    Pleased to see Ben Olsen on there. He is a work horse.

    Worst XI missed submission: MLS’s choice for “Goals of the Week”.

    Whoever selects them doesn’t know soccer. Aside from Ching and Angel, the goals they selected were horrid. Last week they didn’t even have Arnaud’s long bomb. I don’t get it.

  4. MetroStone says:

    Where is Goldy’s goal line save on the BEST XI list, complete oversight!?!

  5. Man says:

    There Ives goes again with his Red Bull bias; putting Chicago’s name first with attendance woes while Giants Stadium is named last.


  6. JeffM says:

    Benny is awesome. Still productive with two bad ankles at age 49.

    Let me add: Kenny Cooper for the USMNT. Has anyone ever mentioned that on this board?

  7. sean monaghan says:

    Bryan jordan is a legend

  8. LDQ says:

    Shalrie Joseph for Player of the Year! Has he been on the list every week except for the bye-week? I’m still thankful he didn’t head off to Celtic. I hope the Krafts dish out even more money his way – and all of the other players ways as well.

  9. AJ says:

    Its just odd seeing Shalrie Joseph in the attacking position on the Best XI. I need to get back in the habit of watching Revs matches. Time to order the Direct Kick package again.

  10. lassidawg says:

    Based on the way Montero has played and the wide open shot he missed I can see why he made the bottom list. If he makes that shot then the game is completely different.

  11. JoeW says:

    1. Onstad’s PK save (which was great) looks absolutely pedestrian or ho-hum compared to his save of the rebound that follows–just absolutely outstanding work. Onstad might be worthy as MLS player of the week for his performance in that game.

    2. Worst of the week–I’d nominate Chris Pontius’ finishing in the Revs game. Love the kid, works hard, plays smart, has a nose for goal yet isn’t selfish. Yet absolutely blew two short-range chances in a match where DCU has the run of play and couldn’t finish (giving an opportunistic NE a chance to steal 3 points despite being ravaged by injuries–until Olsen’s last minute finish).

    3. Ironic to list Wolff as an outside mid since he did a disappearing act there in his match until moved to the frontline. Far better Ives to go with that old 4-2-4 formation this week and just put Wolff up as a forward where he shined (okay, maybe it would have to be a 4-3-3 because Blanco does deserve to be in midfield with Olsen and Joseph).

  12. Joe says:

    Hartman earned the draw for KC no question. He made 3 or 4 saves that would be the top saves of the week. His save on Rolfe at the end of the match was top notch. This coming from a terribly disapointed Fire fan…

  13. Isaac says:

    Bornstein did look good in the Chivas game. Or at least he looked confident. He was all over the place and there was even a few tricks( including the one that led to the goal). Bornstein is the best attacking NATURAL left back that we have. We just weren’t sure his lack of size and strength were worth risking.

  14. Isaac says:

    To add to the previous comment, I really dont like Bornsteins marking though. The only thing that keeps him from completely losing players is his speed and stamina.

  15. MVK says:

    DC Josh – “Whoever selects them doesn’t know soccer. Aside from Ching and Angel, the goals they selected were horrid. Last week they didn’t even have Arnaud’s long bomb. I don’t get it.”

    MLS screwed up their online feed for that strike by Arnaud last week so they didnt have the clip from the place they get those from, and reguarding this weeks the assist is part of the goal.. know what I mean? A great goal isnt just what happens right before it goes in the net.

  16. Dave says:

    Let’s be honest here – Conor Casey took a TERRIBLE PK shot that gifted Onstad with the save. Nice save? Sure, but not a great one and not even the save of the week.

  17. brett says:

    you already hit it, but:

    Worst: Chicago playing defense :(

    what a terribly depressing result… poor on chicago…

  18. johnny fc says:

    hey oh nice to see some bulls on that best XI

  19. Chris says:

    The dude kicking Pat Onstad in the head should have made the worst XI. Who was that chump anyways and was he carded?

  20. Peen Us says:

    David Ferreira. That guy is money, and will pull FCD into contention this year along with Cooper.

  21. PJ says:

    Toronto might be giving up more than their fair share of goals, but Adrian Serioux has been a man-beast at CB for them – time for some First XI love (or at least honourable mention)

  22. Ted says:

    Chukwidi Chijindu (you have an extra “i” in there) didn’t score on his debut. He first appearance was as a sub on April 11 against the Galaxy.

  23. Jimmie says:

    The worse call was the no-goal for RSL when Goldy clearly had his left boot on the line with the right boot in the goal when he kicked it. Every replay shows this. 1-1 game with RSL pressing changes the whole outcome.

    That mistake, definately worse 11.

  24. Steve says:

    I felt that David Ferreira was much stronger than Cooper in that game. Tough on the ball, and set up all three goals. He drew the free kick for the 1st, won the ball and directly assisted the second, and earned the PK with a perfect flick of the ball to Wynne’s arm.

  25. Ted says:

    Actually, it’s Chukwudi Chinjindu…. too many syllables.

  26. Joamiq says:

    Jimmie, unfortunately for you, the location of Goldthwaite’s foot “definately” has nothing to do with whether or not it’s a goal.

  27. zongzap says:

    Wells Thompson learning the hard way that you don’t talk trash to veterans like Ben Olsen

    Huh? From what I saw, it looked like Wells almost put Ben Olsen into the first row. If you’re alluding to the fact that Olsen scored a goal, one had nothing to do with the other

  28. EdTheRed says:


    Uh, yeah…Wells was marking Benny on the goal…and wound up lying on his backside while Olsen celebrated – starting with a few choice words to young Mister Thompson. If that’s not a lesson learned, it should be.

  29. PeteK says:

    Hartman was POW in my opinion. Reminded me of Meola in ’01. Not sure how he is overlooked (honorable mention not good enough).

  30. arena futbol says:

    Brad Knighton impressed again

  31. garbaggio says:

    Onstad’s save(s) on the Conor Casey PK were pretty clutch. Overall, that was a pretty dreadful game to watch. Ching had a perfectly nice ducking header that blooped up and lobbed down in the far post upper 90. No keeper in the world could have saved it. And Conor Casey had a very nice dribbling run past about 4 Houston defenders before Cameron brought him down for the PK. But outside those 3 minutes or so of action there wasn’t a single thing noteworthy or entertaining.

  32. SR says:

    Glad someone commented on Pontius’ terrible finishing. How close can you seriously get and still shoot 10 yards too high?

    David Fereira? He’ll be a beaten dog before long and by the end of the season Cooper will be scoring with some mid level European club jersey on so don’t get your hopes up yet. (Well, at least you’ve got…Jeff Cunningham)

    RSL did a nice job of pretending they’re too cool for the turf. As if they’ve never played on it. So why did Horst start over Olave? Is there a valid reason? Angel sacrifices his body on the turf a lot more than Olave and he doesn’t whine. He just delivers like a true Colombian.

  33. CMcAfee says:

    Joamiq, watch the replay. Jimmie mentions Goldilocks foot because it provides a referance to where the line is in relation to the rest of his body (specifically, his right foot), which is well inside the goal when he “cleared” the shot. If he is inside the goal when he kicks the ball the ball has obviously crossed the line.

    “After the game, a Red Bulls defender conceded that the ball had indeed crossed the goal line, but was pulled back into play by Goldthwaite.” This is quoted from the NY Times GOAL blog here

    link to

    You should “definately” go and watch the replay before you spout off a sarcastic reply. This call “definately” belongs on the worst 11 list.

    It was a good play by Goldie; he just made the play too late (if the linesman had done his job and had been in position).

  34. lassidawg says:

    For all the Hartman talk, I also seem to remember the first goal when he collided with his defender allowing an easy one to McBride. Did he atone for the error? Yes

  35. jloome says:

    Amado Guevara. Dude, I respect the hell out of your opinion normally. But that selection is mental. He didn’t play defense all day, making it impossible for Toronto to hold any kind of consistent shape. He did bugger all. Absolutely horrendous selection.

  36. Michael Cuello says:

    The ball needs to cross the line completely, were you there to see it? no, was anyone on the field in a good position to see it? no; a no-call on such a close play was the right thing to do.

  37. Jonathan says:

    “Let’s be honest here – Conor Casey took a TERRIBLE PK shot that gifted Onstad with the save. Nice save? Sure, but not a great one and not even the save of the week.”

    Dave, you obviously weren’t at the match. Both were spectacular saves to say the least.

  38. Seriously? says:

    Thanks for mentioning Thompson’s performance against Olsen. He’d been taunting Olsen earlier in that half, and I thought it was bush league then. It seemed like he was more worried about proving how tough he was or whatever, rather than doing his job, so I wasn’t surprised to see it come back and bite him in the you know what. To me, it seemed like just deserts for Wells, and I’m a Revs fan.

  39. Chrös says:

    Am I the only one who gets a complete scramble whenever Ives lists a lineup?

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but all of the margins are messed up whenever there are one of these:

    etc. etc.

  40. firefan06 says:

    I admit I didn’t see the Houston game, but Pat Onstad must have had a hell of a night to have beat out Kevin Hartman in your best XI.

  41. MetroStone says:

    CMCAfee – take a look at the replay, the AR is standing at the corner, definetly IN POSITION

    Jack Bell is either on crack or making S*** up. there weren’t any RB defenders standing on the endline (other than Goldy) and the AR was standing at the corner flag.

  42. Dave says:


    “Let’s be honest here – Conor Casey took a TERRIBLE PK shot that gifted Onstad with the save. Nice save? Sure, but not a great one and not even the save of the week.

    Dave, you obviously weren’t at the match. Both were spectacular saves to say the least.”

    I was watching the game. It wasn’t a shot with power and authority; it was very poorly taken. As I said- nice save? Yes. Incredible, great, spectacular save? No. The rebound save was better.

  43. mike from linden says:

    a red bull heavy best 11, i like.

  44. Jimmie says:

    The RSL no-goal is only not a goal when you are looking through RedBull-tinted goggles.

    Take them off already.

    Ball had to cross the line.

  45. Kevin says:

    Bran Knighton gets no recognition, Ives? God, I’m a United fan, and I think the kid did better than Onstad this week! He made at least 5-6 spectacular saves, and really kept a depleted NE side in the game while we had all the momentum and chances.

    I guarantee that he made a couple saves that Reis wouldn’t have been able to. With Reis in net (and no disrespect to one of the league’s all-time best keepers), I think the Revs lose that game 2 or 3-1.

  46. Kevin says:

    Oops, that should be “Brad” Knighton in my last post, not bran!

    Although, if Raisin Bran ever needed a novelty ad campaign, a medieval-themed cereal might be an…interesting… idea.

  47. Andrew says:

    Goldwaithe’s clearance should have been a goal. RSL got robbed.

  48. zacalie says:

    Why quibble about whether Goldthwaite cleared that ball before it crossed the line or not? RSL played like crap almost the entire game and got what it deserved with the result. Beckerman said it best in saying (more or less) that this is likely the worst side that RSL will lose to all year. Horrendous effort!

  49. madmax says:

    I agree with the Montero pick because he didn’t go around 6-3 300 lb Zach Thorton.

    James Riley’s own goal desrves a spot.

  50. Jonathan says:

    Dave, anytime you can save a PK and an ensuing header at point blank range, it’s a great save all the way around.

  51. CMcAfee says:

    Zacalie, you hit it right on the head. RSL did not deserve points, regardless of the “goal”.

    MetroStone, watch the correct replay before you decide to comment. The ref was a good 8′ off the endline when Goldy hits the ball. In fact, Dunseth, the commentator of the broadcast, comments on the fact that the ref cannot make a call because he is well out of position. However, you are correct that Goldy is the only RB near the endline, but it very well could have been Goldy admitting that it was really a goal (which would account for the lack of a name given). Or maybe the writer made it up, but why would he bother?

  52. It seems to me that nobody is capable of spelling “definitely” on this post. It is definitely not spelled “definetly”, and also definitely not spelled “definately”. I “definutley” hope I don’t see that word again. Wait, how do you spell that word?

  53. jig says:

    what made bryan jordan’s goal “gutsy”? Because he did snapped his header real hard and did a front flip afterwards?

  54. Leonardo says:

    Montero misses a goal and makes the worst list? I agree – too harsh. good news here is that he set the bar sky high for himself and so the media follows suit

  55. Joamiq says:

    I’ll reply sarcastically whenever I want to, thank you very much. It’s pretty dumb to say that if part of someone’s body – even the foot he kicks with – is in the net, the entire ball must have crossed the line. If you’re having trouble envisioning this, I’d be glad to show you how it works. In the meantime, you’re welcome to show me the replay that provides definitive evidence that the officials made the wrong call. My initial reaction was also that it crossed the line, but I’ve not yet seen a replay from a camera on the endline. Nor was there any other player remotely in position to tell whether or not it crossed the line.