MLS Week 6: The Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week

Clint Mathis 1 ( 

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One thing you couldn't call MLS Week Six is boring. You had stunning comebacks, unforgettable goals and one record-setting display of attacking soccer.

You also had the 2009 MLS rookie class stealing the show this week with a handful of top-notch performances. You also had some old-timers, like Clint Mathis and Zach Thornton, showing that they can still deliver.

Yes, there was plenty of disappointment as well. From the Red Bulls late collapse to Columbus' second-half collapse, there were some games that left fans banging their heads against walls, but overall, the week was an entertaining one in MLS.

Here is a rundown of what we thought were the Best XI and Worst XI plays/moments/performances of Week Six, as well as the SBI Team of the Week:

MLS Week Six Best XI

Clint Mathis' beautiful left-footed volley.

Andy Williams' stunning free kick over a helpless Brad Knighton.

Gonzalo Segares' equalizer, with assists from Chris Rolfe and Tim Ward.

Kasey Keller's clutch save to help him remain unscored upon in MLS.

Rookie goalkeeper Stefan Frei recording a pair of shutouts in one week.

Steve Zakuani putting on an MLS rookie of the year-caliber performance.

Zach Thorton's full-stretch save to deny Dax McCarty.

Danny Dichio having a hand in both game-winning goals for TFC this week.

D.C. United rookies Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius both scoring in win vs. Red Bulls.

D.C. fans making the trip to Giants Stadium and making their voices heard.

Another sell-out crowd in Seattle.

MLS Week Six Worst XI

New England's second-half meltdown vs. Real Salt Lake.

Jon Busch's blunder to set up Alejandro Moreno's goal.

Jon Conway and Alfredo Pacheco failing to deal with a ball that led to a DC game-winner.

Pacheco falling asleeping and letting Luciano Emilio slot home the equalizer.

Ugo Ihemelu gets disposessed by Edson Buddle, then gets beaten by Landon Donovan in the same sequence.

Dario Sala's decision to handle a ball outside the penalty area, earning a red card in the process.

San Jose's awful defending on both Seattle goals.

Gino Padula's highly-questionable and match-changing red card, issued by referee Jair Marrufo

Carlos Johnson giving up a penalty just two minutes into the Red Bulls' loss to KC (though I still say the red card was undeserved).

Kansas City failing yet again to dominate with a man advantage.

The paltry crowd at Giants Stadium for Sunday's match.

SBI MLS Team of the Week (Week 6)

Guillermo B. Schelotto——Danny Dichio———–Chris Pontius

——————————Javier Morales—————————

Steve Zakuani——————————————–Clint Mathis

——————————Kyle Beckerman————————–

Gonzalo Segares———–Adrian Serioux——–Jhon K. Hurtado

———————————Stefan Frei—————————-

Honorable Mentions: Zach Thornton, Kasey Keller, Chad Marshall, Tyrone Marshall, Jamison Olave, Tim Ward, Rodney Wallace, Carl Robinson, Brad Evans, Jorge Rojas, Santino Quaranta, Landon Donovan, Juan Pablo Angel, Alejandro Moreno


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?

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55 Responses to MLS Week 6: The Best XI, Worst XI and Team of the Week

  1. sonicdeathmonkey says:

    First! Great weekend. Decent crowds, some really exciting games, lots of goals, and only one field with football lines. Take that, Steven Cohen!!

  2. scott47a says:

    Ummm … no Kasey Keller even in the honorable mentions?

  3. Ian says:

    Keller’s on there, and deservedly so, that save was nuts

  4. Ian says:

    my bad, thought you meant best XI

  5. brant says:

    I’d put the Busch “blunder” as much as a plus for Moreno in Best XI as a minus for Busch in the worst XI. Watch the replay over at and look at how far out of the play Moreno is when that ball gets lofted toward Busch. He just motors his tookus off and Busch never looked for him because he started out at the midfiled circle on the other side. It was a pure effort play.

  6. blog says:

    The red card on Carlos Johnson WAS deserved because he took down the offensive player on a break away to deny the goal scoring opportunity (regardless of whether another RB defender ~may~ have been able to break-up the play or not – GOOD CALL BY THE REF).

    Great job by NYRB to keep the scoreline to only 1-0 being down 1 man nearly all of the match. Poor job to turn around and give up those 2 goals to DCU a few days later.

    I think the NYRB season is not a loss and shows flashes of promise for the rest of the season, IMO.

  7. kev13p says:

    Clint Mathis in the Team of the Week? Give him goal of the week, but other than that unmarked strike he was anonymous the rest of the game.

  8. seven says:

    Add Pablo Vitti

  9. ELAC says:

    Chivas USA, the team no knows, no one cares.

    Zack Thornton is back and an early candidate for Comeback player of the Year.

    Sacha has disappeared this season. can anyone help us find him.

  10. DC Josh says:

    Overall, I think the weekend points to one thing: teams finally have passionate fans. Whether its the Seattle congregation at Qwest field, TFC bunch of crazies, or the beat and broken Red Bulls fans, they all deeply care about their team.

    Attendance will certainly be down this year. Hopefully, more summer transfers will be brought in than out. Even with the economy sucking, the passion is there.

  11. Frankie Hejduk says:

    Santino Qaranta’s one touch volley for an assist on Emilio’s goal. Not as good as Mathis’ spectacular volley, but still pretty good.

  12. ALEX says:

    I will give Kandji an honorable mention

  13. Larry says:

    I don’t think you should include the “paltry crowd” at Giants Stadium in the Worst Eleven. 10,000+ seems pretty darn good to me, considering how awful the home team is.

  14. E says:

    “Clint Mathis in the Team of the Week? Give him goal of the week, but other than that unmarked strike he was anonymous the rest of the game.”

    Posted by: kev13p

    Really, kev? Really? Did you happen to see any of that game? Even if you had only checked the box score, you would know that on top of Clint’s goal, he tallied a pretty sweet assist as well. And don’t get me started on his all-around (and especially defensive) effort.

    You my friend, obviously, do not understand the game…

  15. hokieunited says:

    How about Boyzzz hustle and determination on United’s winner. The miscommunication between Conway and Pacheco means nothing if no one is following that play up.

    But Boyzzz was right there to pounce on the mistake, and his shot(pass) set up the winner for United.

  16. I Magnuson says:

    How come there aren’t any Dallas players on the list?

    ….ohh yeah, we suck!

  17. JoeW says:

    I think you’d have to add Jorge Rojas as honorable mention for his performance in the second half for the RBNY. Maybe his best soccer in a Red Bull uni ever.

  18. Ives says:

    That 10,000 announced crowd at the Red Bulls-DC game translated into what looked more like 2,000 actual fans.

    I agree on Rojas deserving honorable mention. Not so for Kandji, who made some nice moves but wasted some great chances to put the match out of reach.

    I also liked Vitti’s play last week, but for all his nice moves he managed no goals or assists. Once he starts to actually convert those plays into goals then he’ll be on Team of the Week.

    Oh, and blog, we’ll agree to disagree on the Johnson red.

  19. BK says:

    Let the calls for more referee oversight get louder and louder. Another game changing decision by Jair Marrufo? You don’t say.

    Again, what is the league doing to hold referees accountable for botched decisions? Marrufo blew the DC-LA game as well. This trend is disturbing.

  20. not a Columbus fan says:

    Some day someone will really put a foot in Blanco’s thigh instead of his faking. Just once, I’d like to see someone get a red on him that they DESERVED.

  21. CMcAfee says:

    kev13p, You really mush have confused Mathis with any of the NE players. Mathis won balls all night on defense, and was a huge part of the way RSL held possession for 90% if the game.

  22. Joe says:

    Jon Busch has been terrible this season. So has the Fire defense and we are just lucky that our offense is scoring goals for us. We are the LA Galaxy in terms of scoring the most goals while giving up the most also. That goal had nothing to do with Moreno. It was all Buschs fault. Get a half decent right foot and put it to half field.

  23. Matt says:

    Hurtado was a maniac for the Sounders in the back this weekend.

  24. Aljarov says:

    I think Vitti deserved a mention at the very least. He was the difference the last couple of games.

  25. Seattle BG says:

    DC Josh – “Whether its the Seattle congregation at Qwest field, TFC bunch of crazies, or the beat and broken Red Bulls fans, they all deeply care about their team”

    I hope the characterization of Qwest as a congregation is a reference to the deeply religious experience we all feel at the games, and not some back hand compliment that the atmosphere is anything approaching church like!

  26. billy says:

    i thought ljungberg also deserved to be on the honorable mention. i thought he played a great game on saturday. he was a joy to watch in person, as was zakuani.

  27. ABou says:

    One thing which prolly hurt the attendance at the DC United/RedBulls match was that the Capitals and Rangers were playing game six of their playoff series at the same time, and the nationals and mets were also playing a game on Sunday. 3 DC teams were playing at New York on Sunday which may have thinned out what would have been a bigger crowd for United vs NY. Another thing that prolly kept people from sitting in Giant stadium to watch the game was the sweltering heat

  28. Trent says:

    Blanco is a disgrace to soccer. So is this MLS ref. for believing his BS throughout the whole game. The ref. personally changed the game. Maybe he didn’t want to see the Crew win. I dunno. I really hope that the ref watched the clip after the game and couldn’t sleep at night. If I sucked as much at my job as this ref does, I would get sued.

  29. jp992751 says:

    Mathis anonymous? What game were you watching? Oh I get it you still have the Mathis Hater Sunglasses on. What a moron you are. Mathis was MOTM by far. He was all over the pitch and should have had 4 to 5 assits if the forwards had finished in the first half. Your anonymous observation is quite pathetic.

  30. f4denz says:


    Sorry Mathis made about a dozen incredible passes and half of them resulted in shots on goal, his goal was stellar and his assist was perfect.

    He fought against a good midfielder and beat him at almost every turn, hell his old butt out ran some of the young New England guys a number of times.

  31. RK says:

    I hear that Pepe is free for a while…he could take a real swipe — or two — at Blanco if you want…

  32. Matt says:

    Busch sure did a piss poor job of getting back into the play after Moreno tooled him.

    And Busch is a guy who always lets his defenders know about it if he thinks they’re not playing well…what’s their reaction gonna be next time he tels tham to play harder?

  33. SR says:

    I wonder if MLS refs this year are awarded some bonus for each red card they issue. Each week there are (questionable) sendings off and this week was no different. That said, Carlos Johnson has proven his low level of discipline/intelligence in this young season.

    One guy that should have made the Best XI team is Jamison Olave. Talk about a game changing presence for the royals. He backs out of the NY game and our back line folds, then this week vs a superior NE side, he and the rest of the D just dominate.

    Low attendences have been an ugly mark on the league this month but ticket prices are dropping, better weather is on its way, and people will start to get out more and more.

    It’s been a fun and interesting first month and we’ve seen some world class goals, saves, etc. It can only get better.

  34. MVK says:

    Ives is such a NYRB homer “(though I still say the red card was undeserved)”

    read the laws fo the game Ives, MLS officals are horrible, but this one was in the right in this case

  35. seven says:

    Every time that poor attendance is mentioned somebody has to list all of the reasons that nobody was at the game. Typical excuses are rain, snow, wind, traffic, other games, blah blah blah. I hope ABou is joking when he blames ‘sweltering heat’. It’s only April.

  36. ccb1212 says:

    How about just name the whole RSL squad as the SBI team of the week. What a beat down!

  37. Ike says:

    Are NYRB fans just waiting for the new stadium to be finished before they show up?

  38. silverrey says:

    There have been a few soft reds as of recent, but I think the reffing crew of the LA-COL game should be in the best XI. I don’t think I have ever seen a red card overturned no matter how wrong the ref knew he was in his call. Kudos for manning up to change a mistake!!!

  39. msufiftyseven says:

    DC fans do not deserve to be in the best XI. While I give them credit for making the trip to the swamp they were quiet in the first half and totally silent in the second half when RB were up. It wasn’t until two gifts were given to them that they woke up and started cheering. The 101 was loud the entire game regardless of the scoreline.

  40. Kyle says:

    Jair Marrufo took it upon himself to completely ruin what was a good game. Padula’s sending of was a disgrace, it would have been questionable even as a yellow. He also completely overlooked Chad Marshall being NFL tackled in the box by Soumare on a Schellotto free kick. That kind of performance by a referee jeopardizes the integrity of MLS and should not be overlooked by the league.

  41. Greta reaction save from Keller, then again it was headed right to him. Do you think maybe Johnson should have gotten another half step in and headed into the other corner of the goal?

    San Jose’s defense gets a mention – how is that? When the Sounders scored there was no defense, except keeper Cannon, involved. Even my grandmother (may she RIP) could score on an empty net.

    I like the Sounders’ green uniforms, but teams need to make it a little harder for them.

  42. EMalone says:

    Nice bit of revisionist history msufiftyseven. The DC contingent sang and cheered the whole game. Watch the re-air on MSG … that isn’t ESC you’re hearing.

  43. Bootsy says:

    msufiftyseven: I have no doubt that from where you were in Section 101, you heard the ESC clearly and didn’t hear DC fans at all. On both Telefutura and the MSG replay, I could hear the travelling DC fans very well for most of the first half, less well (i.e. less frequently and more quietly) in the second half, and then (unsurprisingly) a big wakeup late. HTH.

  44. Kevin says:

    Ives, I think Quaranta deserves the Best XI spot, and Pontius the Honorable Mention. Yes, he scored the game-winning goal, but Tino was clearly the best guy on the pitch all game for United, if not the bets overall.

    But other than that, no complaints ; )

  45. United's Princess says:

    I think the red for Columbus vs fat old Blanco was ridiculous as well!!! Also not a Columbus fan, I really wish the referees would get the wake up call about that jerk. As for the red in the second minute of the Red Bulls game, I thought it was iffy at best. A yellow no question, but 2 minutes in?? give me a break. Got to hand it to MY BOYS for the comeback that I did not see happening-Love me some DC united!!!

  46. MattC says:

    Jamison Olave is the Man!

    I know that you have him as an honorable mention but I just wanted to give some extra love to the most athletically gifted CB in the league. Those that don’t watch RSL regularly might not be very familiar with him.

    Olave is a huge and physical player who also has blazing pace. He struggled with his decision making at times last year but him and Borchers make a great tandem in the middle. His absense in the NYRB game made all the difference in RSL losing. On top of that he added his second great goal of the young season and is starting to establish himself as an aerial threat.

    Just as a side note, how in the world is Columbia’s national team so poor? Seriously, they have a lot of talent around the world that play a high level of soccer.

    Anyway, I predict that by season’s end Olave will establish himself as clearly the best CB in MLS.

  47. Acme says:

    A studs up high foot is a studs up high foot.

    He had no chance to play the ball, he went in for a foul and that was it.

    It didn’t really change the pace of the game anyway. Cbus got one nice set piece goal from Baky losing a ball in the air…how he can is beyond me, and was gifted a goal from another co Baky and Busch blunder.

    Cbus had the minority of possession and minority of chances. It was never “if” Chicago scored only when. Crew got lucky with one, we got lucky with Segas last min power strike.

    Neither team deserved 3 points from the way they were playing.

    Be happy you got one point.

  48. beckster says:

    Ives, in DC, the verdict is pretty much that Quaranta was man of the match, ahead of Wallace and Pontius. Without Quaranta, at least 2 of the goals wouldn’t have happened and he caused major problems for the Red Bulls all night.

    Other than that, looks good!

  49. Jbeto says:

    Carlos Johnson two red cards in his first two games!?! NYRB were expecting alot more than that from this guy.

  50. Steve says:

    Let me add to the chorus for Vitti…making Conrad look like Cone-Rad multiple times.

  51. H says:

    Thanks Ives. I was at the KC/NY game and unless you were there or saw the pictures posted on some websites it’s clear the Red on Johnson was wrong. Gomez’s 1st ouch was way long and Pacheco actually closed on the ball. It needs to be a clear goal scoring opportunity and in this case it wasn’t. I’m a KC fan and was sitting behind the goal; when Gomez gave the ball it’s first touch I was cursing at him for letting it go far, and then Johnson helped us out with the clumsy slide.

    I don’t blame people saying it’s deserved because the way the ESPN video framed it looks deserved.

  52. Leonardo says:

    I was at the sounders game!!!

    *Hurtado* was awesome. He’s a beast. No one got by him at all. He has a menacing presence in the back – the only way SJ got to attack was to completely avoid Hurtado. i’m a huge fan of his, and have been since day 1. I’m glad he finally made the Best XI since he’s been honorable mention at least 2x already.

    The pace of the game was quick, one-two touches all day. *freddy L* was all over the place, at the heart of several plays.

    i vote Sounders fans as the best in the nation!

  53. Trent says:

    Lol. Ya gotta love delusional Fire fans. The Crew controlled the entire game until the ref. personally tried to screw them. Both the ref and blanco should be suspended from the league for at least 10 games.

  54. RLW2020 says:

    Stefan Frei is the next star of the mls!